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America’s Cup: Discovering the secrets

Published on December 29th, 2019

by Duncan Johnstone,
Team New Zealand are 30 minutes into a vital testing session when it all comes to a sudden halt.

One minute Te Aihe is foiling beautifully, the next moment the 75-foot monohull splashes down with Peter Burling’s voice coming over the intercom, reporting a problem towards the bow.

Back on the chase boat where a mix of team management, designers and spare crew watch the high-speed action unexpectedly stall just metres away, Grant Dalton laments: “It’s probably a $5 bracket.”

He’s not far wrong as an expensive instrument designed to measure wind speed off the front of the boat dangles precariously above the water, literally hanging by an electrical thread.

It’s an example of how the smallest component can threaten a multi-million dollar boat.

It’s not all plain sailing when an America’s Cup team is coming to grips with a new design, particularly when that boat is a state-of-the-art affair that is having its boundaries pushed so hard and so fast.

America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand are doing just that and on this day Stuff is invited along for the ride.

There’s a long check-list to work through as modifications are put to the test. Small gains can take extraordinary amounts of time to eventuate.

The morning’s light conditions on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf make an ideal stage for the massive 200sqm Code Zero sail to be trialled. This is the sail that will be employed when winds are at the bottom end of the limit.

The sail is a tricky beast but it’s frighteningly effective. In around 7 knots of breeze, Team New Zealand are finding incredible speed until the frustrating finish to that phase.

The setback is quickly shrugged off because there’s always something else to work on. Full story.

36th America’s Cup
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 coincided 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. However, 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 (NOT KNOWN)
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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