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America’s Cup: Here we go again

Published on October 7th, 2019

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
The Deed of Gift has been this brilliant document that’s piloted the America’s Cup through the years, dictating terms for a fair event while allowing the Defender and Challenger of Record to work outside the four corners of the agreement by mutual consent.

But lately it seems that “mutual consent” is translated by the defender as “do what we want or leave.”

The role of the Challenger of Record is pivotal, but when teams holding the position quit before both the 2013 and 2017 America’s Cup, citing irreconcilable differences, one wondered what deed author George L. Schuyler would have said.

And yet here we are (again) as word comes that the Challenger of Record for the 2021 America’s Cup, Luna Rossa (ITA), is not happy with the AC75 Class that has been created for the 36th edition… by mutual consent.

Team leader Patrizio Bertelli, now in his sixth challenge to the America’s Cup, shares his opinion about the AC75 in this translated report by Fabio Pozzo in the Italian publication La Stampa:

“If the New Zealanders, the holders of the Cup, had listened to me, now we would surely have a greater number of challenging teams (besides Luna Rossa, the English of INEOS, and the Americans of American Magic and – maybe, even if they say they are busy in the construction of the boat – of Stars & Stripes Team USA).

“It would have been better to say goodbye to the catamarans of the last edition with a less complex boat, a 60 foot monohull, like those of the former Volvo Ocean Race, always with the foils that lift it from the water and make it fly, but different from these.

“It would have had a simpler electronic system, it would have cost at least 20 million euros less (65 million the initial budget of Luna Rossa) and it would have been the intermediate step from which to climb to build a new class of boats. Instead we immediately started being aggressive.

“The electronic system is the real secret. The one hidden in the hull, which cannot be seen. The Americans turned to Airbus, so to speak. This is the real reason that has kept other potential challenging teams away. Too difficult to start from scratch.”

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. 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


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