America’s Cup: China wants to win

Published on March 10th, 2018

As of the 1st of January 2018, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) began accepting challenge entries for the 36th America’s Cup to be held in early 2021. The trouble is we don’t who they are.

Entries get submitted per the terms of the America’s Cup Deed of Gift and the Protocol, with additional instructions issued December 17, 2017.

As the RNZYS was closed for business between the 25th of December 2017 and the 15th of January 2018, any yacht clubs submitting an entry between the 1st and the 15th of January 2018 would have had their entry examined the week commencing the 15th of January 2018 in the order of their receipt.

After completing the entry, RNZYS could then advise on the acceptance or refusal of the entry and shall also make a public announcement of acceptance after first consulting with the challenging yacht club and the Challenger of Record on the timing of that announcement.

So in the absence of any formal announcement from the Defender or challenging teams, those entries submitted either haven’t been accepted or haven’t wanted to be announced. We know a team from Britain, Italy, and USA have entered, but after that it is rumors on who else seeks to join the 36th edition.

The latest story in is how sailors working with the Chinese Volvo Ocean Race team are in talks to enter the America’s Cup.

“We want to be here to do the America’s Cup with the China team, and we want to win,” says Liu ‘Black’ Xue. “We want to battle with Peter Burling,”

Three of the sailors on board were in China’s last attempt at an America’s Cup campaign in 2013. Since then, former Team New Zealand grinder Craig Monk has advised Chinese officials as they’ve developed more than 30 new marinas and yacht clubs.

“There’s some truth at it – they’d certainly have what they need to do a Cup programme and we’d love to see them here,” said Monk. “I can’t say too much but that’s definitely what I’m working towards.”

He says all will be clearer after China sees more specifics around the monohull boat design, with the rule to be published by March 31. Their planning would also need to allow time for some overseas crew to get Chinese residency to comply with new nationality rules.

Dongfeng is a Chinese team in name, but on board it’s still a real international collaboration from the French, who have long been their sailing partners, and also two Kiwis.

A Cup entry from Team France is looking doubtful now that sponsor Groupama has pulled out. Bruno Dubois, the team manager from the last French campaign, is now working with China. He says Chinese sponsors find the America’s Cup even more appealing than the Volvo Ocean Race.

“America’s Cup is about winning and about prestige, and that’s what Chinese people like, so there is more chance for growth into the America’s Cup. I hope the finance people who are working on the America’s Cup will understand that and push for it.”

So the deciding factor seems not if the Chinese have the money but whether they think they’d be able to mount a campaign with a reasonable chance of beating Team New Zealand.

The entry period closes 30th June 2018 though late entries are accepted up until 31st December 2018 (with an additional late entry fee).

Key dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Protocol of the 36th America’s Cup
Key Points of the Protocol
Deed of Gift

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