America’s Cup: Standby to be stunned

Published on July 21st, 2019

Each time the America’s Cup reinvents itself, we are left in this never-never land until that day when the curtain rises and boats splash. That day for the 36th edition was to be March 31 but delays in building what the designers imagined has left us wondering if we’ll ever arrive at this utopian place.

Depending on your penchant for ‘half-full’ or ‘half-empty, the message from the Defender is to keep the faith and the wait will be worth it. Here’s the latest cheerleading courtesy of the NZ Herald:

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s vice-commodore doesn’t mince words. “It’s going to be dangerous.”

Aaron Young is talking about the AC75, Emirates Team New Zealand’s still-secret monohull that will half sail, half fly its way to win, if all goes to plan, the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland harbour come March 2021.

Team NZ boss Grant Dalton has already warned the 75-footer could roll. There’s no keel to keep the boat upright and it’ll be screaming along at 50 knots or more, two metres above the water. It’ll only take one mistake.

The boat that foils 100 per cent of the time will win, he says.

After what he saw in Team NZ’s well-guarded boatyard in Albany, Young says the gap between marine design, aerodynamics, and hydrodynamics is now very slim.

“The world’s never seen anything like this boat.”

That’s exactly the reaction “Dalts” and team principal Matteo de Nora are expecting. To them, this race is the Formula One of sailing, the boat an example of extreme, world-leading design.

“We are supposed to be a step ahead, not a step behind,” de Nora says.

The Swiss-Italian businessman has waited a long time to see the America’s Cup defended in New Zealand. It has consumed his life since he met Dalton 16 years ago after the disappointing 31st America’s Cup in Auckland which saw Team NZ, plagued by dramatic gear failures, lose to Alinghi.

Apart from wanting to win the Cup, de Nora sees the event as a boost for New Zealand. It is a “no brainer”, he says, that the lead-up to the event will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of net money to the economy, including local and central government.

“You don’t need to be a sailing fan to want this to happen in New Zealand because it is an event that benefits everyone in the end.”

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 were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

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

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, but they still must complete the entry fee payment process before they will be eligible to race. They have already paid their initial payment but as a late entry challenger under the Protocol they also have a liability to pay a US$1million late entry fee due in installments by October 1, 2019.

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 events (CANCELLED)
October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
April 23-26, 2020: First America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia.
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series 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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