America’s Cup: Where we are now
Published on October 6th, 2019
It had been a year since the AC75 Class Rule had been published, and all the teams were eyeballing the date at which their first boats could be launched: March 31, 2019. It is repeatedly stated how no size of budget is more valued that time, and once again time was of the essence.
However, the very complex AC75 was a big ask, as the foiling monohull relies on an innovative foil arm and canting system to provide ballast and lift. To share costs, it was decided by the Defender and Challenger of Record for these parts to be one design and provided to all teams.
But providing that part proved harder than anticipated, and while teams may have had their hulls ready for that March launch, they instead remained in the shed, waiting for the delivery. Time was needed to ensure these parts were reliable, as with speeds in excess of the 2017 America’s Cup, lives depend on reliability.
With the rules permitting each team to build two boats to prepare for the 2021 America’s Cup, Christmas finally arrived for the five campaigns. Here’s where we are with Boat #1:
• September 6: The defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) was the first to launch. Lacking a test boat, the kiwis had keep the meter running on the simulator and now have some catching up to learn about this foiling monohull.
• September 10: Challenger American Magic (USA) avoided spies and press releases when they launched their first boat, but the spotlight found them on this day foiling across Narragansett Bay. After having significant time on their 38-foot test boat, it is believed they did not need long to unleash the beast.
• October 2: Challenger of Record Luna Rossa (ITA) is famous for providing limited information, which might be part cultural and part having a significantly self-funded budget that need not appease sponsors and partners. But they turned on the lights for their launch with characteristic style.
• October 4: As the first team to launch a test boat, INEOS Team UK (GBR) showed the world what it was like to crash and spill. But at 28-feet, it remained far from the real thing, and after sufficient dredging adjacent to their Portsmouth base, the team now is stepping up to the real thing.
That just leaves Stars & Stripes Team USA (USA) with high hopes of fielding an all-American team. While they gained early interest and enthusiasm, their leadership has been strangely silent as to their progress, thus prompting questions about their viability.
Co-founded by Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield, they were one of three late challenges and are now the sole survivor. Helping their status was an Arbitration Panel ruling that entry fees need only be paid in full before a team is eligible to race. That first race is the America’s Cup World Series event in Italy on April 23-26, 2020.
But to race they need a boat, a crew, and a budget to make it happen. Standing by.
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)
• INEOS Team UK (GBR)
• 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. This deadline coincides with the venue schedule which has the construction of their team base beginning in late 2019, which we assume was done in the event the team is unable to fulfill their payment deadline. It is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee.
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
AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1