America’s Cup: Dutch bullish on future

Published on May 6th, 2019

With the America’s Cup competition still 20 months away, and no team having yet splashed their first AC75 boat, the dockside commentary is limited to conjecture.

All we know is there’s a formidable kiwi defender, three well-funded challengers able to win, and three late entries – Malta Altus Challenge (MLT), Stars & Stripes Team USA (USA), DutchSail (NED) – on life-support.

Maybe we should be thankful for the ill-health of three teams, for the America’s Cup thrives on conversation. Few sporting events, maybe none, have less competition and more reverence than the America’s Cup. Talking about their potential failure is all we have right now.

This conversation has a few more months before they either have the funds to begin and finish their boats in time for the first America’s Cup World Series event in Spring 2020, or they tap out. Here’s the latest from the Dutch effort on May 6, 2019:

The DutchSail Foundation will broaden its approach that was set up at the outset for the first Dutch participation in the prestigious America’s Cup, into a national platform based on continuity.

DutchSail’s primary focus – funding the Dutch entry in the 36th America’s Cup – has been a challenge in itself. Developments at home and abroad continue to gain momentum, where Simeon Tienpont and the team still hold on the prospect of entering the America’s Cup.

“We now have various firm commitments, but that does not yet close the loop,” said Managing Director, Eelco Blok. “Fortunately, we are able to extend the deadlines a bit, to capitalize on key opportunities. Behind the scenes, everything is really progressing; although not always visible, it is really incredibly exciting.

“We are well aware that the time factor is starting to get really urgent, but giving up is not an option. Moreover, we feel more than supported by the defender, Team New Zealand; we keep them well informed about our struggle against time, and they praise what we are setting up here in the Netherlands.

“It is clear that participation in the America’s Cup is a national affair and the defender thinks it is great that we are committed to that.”

Based in Scheveningen, the core team’s enthusiasm is fueled by the overwhelming support and positive feedback from the many presentations given to yacht clubs, government agencies, and the business community over the past few months and the issue of the DutchSail certificates has been successful. We have received a handful of firm corporate commitments and discussions with a main sponsor are promising.

The Dutch industry, in particular the naval and maritime sectors, continue to value the opportunity to apply Dutch innovations to the hi-tech monohull foiling AC75; they see it as a so called ‘wet’ laboratory.

Knowledge centers like Marin, TNO, NLR, Erasmus Medical Center, and Deltares are already looking further and are committed to DutchSail as an eco-system for innovation, technology, and sustainability for the Netherlands and in particular the North Sea. More than ever, the technological spin-off of the AC75 boat responds to sustainability issues, such as zero emission shipping and offshore wind energy.

According to DutchSail Foundation board member Hans Huis in ‘t Veld, many contacts in recent months have generated a lot of synergy between the energy, maritime, and aviation sectors: “Hi-tech competitive racing circuit, whether for the America’s Cup, for The Ocean Race, or the Vendée Globe, to name a few, only deliver winning results with a focused, structured partnership. Individual initiatives will never be able to build up sustainable momentum; we need DutchSail as an eco-system.”

Tienpont has conducted intensive research in recent months into the feasibility of the Dutch entry: “Now is the chance for the Netherlands to get a Dutch challenger on the water for the first time in history. The design of the AC75 and the technical specifications are right for the Dutch maritime and aviation industry.

“The America’s Cup has worked 168 years as a delivery room for technology development. The Dutch maritime sector is a recognized world leader; it is now a question of using that leadership to achieve success in participating in the 36th America’s Cup. Add to that the fact that our competitive sailors are among the best in the world.”

The DutchSail Foundation has set itself the goal of establishing a continuity-based connection between government, centers of excellence, and the business community in the field of marine and maritime innovation and sailing. Through mutual cooperation, economic and sporting opportunities are created around increasingly relevant social themes; climate and energy, food, water, health, circular economy, and safety.

The vision of DutchSail points to youth as a starting point. Where water sports clubs and, by extension, the Water Sports Association, focus on the link from youth to Olympic sailing; DutchSail takes the position to develop the link from youth to professional (offshore) sailing.

“With this initiative, DutchSail explicitly fills a big gap in the talent development of our sport,” explains DutchSail Foundation board member Michiel van Dis. “DutchSail will make it possible for Dutch youth to build a career in the magical world of international hi-tech competitive sailing. The possibilities are unprecedented.”

DutchSail will start as a challenger in the America’s Cup in 2021. The America’s Cup is a global driver in innovation and technology. It gives the Netherlands a wonderful opportunity to profile itself with knowledge and innovation focused on sustainability, life science and performance in combination with the most iconic top sporting event in the world. A competition spectacle for a crowd of millions that brings together the top sailors, designers and builders from countries that rely on their innovative and advanced technology industry.

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)
• DutchSail (NED)

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 (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events (CANCELLED)
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


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