America’s Cup: The enemy of time

Published on March 6th, 2019

Two years seems like a long time, but this is the America’s Cup and time is the biggest issue- you never have enough of it. Every day is important. Is two years long enough?

“Not even close, we could use four,” explains America’s Cup veteran and Skipper of American Magic, Terry Hutchinson. “Every single day is already accounted for as we work and prepare for the 36th America’s Cup.”

Each of the teams will now be at varying stages of their individual design, development and testing in their respective campaigns towards 2021. But just what is going on behind closed doors right now will go a long way to defining success in two years’ time, according to Kevin Shoebridge, COO of the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand.

“Historically, when you look back on who has won any America’s Cup, it is often decisions that have been made two years to 18 months previous that are the key to what your performance will be at the end when it matters.

“A lot of the philosophy and direction that you take is often taken quite early. So, decisions we are making today, decisions we have just made with the design of the first boat could be critical to the outcome of the America’s Cup. So, there is no slow ramping up to the big decisions coming later on. The big decisions are now.”

With this in mind, it is anyone’s guess as to who is better placed at this point in time. Literally no one could know. But, according to four-time America’s Cup winner and INEOS Team UK CEO Grant Simmer, it’s not just making the right decisions, but how effectively you manage your time once they have been made, that matters.

“Normally if you manage your America’s Cup properly you run out of time at the same time you run out of money. You can sometimes find more money, but you can never find more time. So, managing time is a critical part of the program and this Cup is like any other – you have to time your developments to come online right at the end of the Cup.”

The timeline toward the America’s Cup is appearing ambitious for the organizers too, as the design and development of parts to be provided to competitors is behind schedule. While March 31st was the date at which a team could launch and begin sailing their first AC75, it is not known now when that will occur.

These delays are now impacting the 2019 racing schedule in which the Protocol had called for up to two events counting toward the America’s Cup World Series. With a deadline to announce the schedule on March 31, the opening event that had been announced for Italy in October is now reportedly postponed until early next year.

In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and The Netherlands have also been accepted. Here’s the current list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT)
• Stars & Stripes Team USA (USA)

Key America’s Cup 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
✔ November 30, 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


Source: America’s Cup Media


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