America’s Cup: It’s always something
Published on January 8th, 2020
In preparing for the 36th America’s Cup, knowing how much wind the AC75 must compete in is the spoke of the wheel. In designing the boat, everything revolves around the match conditions, and these were to be finalized on December 20.
While four boats have been launched without this information, these teams are designing a second boat which is anticipated to be what they will use in the Challenger selection series and Cup races, but the match conditions have still not been finalized.
The problem? The Defender and the Challenger of Record are disputing the upper wind limit. The New Zealand defender contends that a wind limit of 24 knots is needed to avoid cancelling races in Auckland while the Italian COR want a 20 knot restriction in place.
As required by the Protocol, the issue has now been referred to the Arbitration Panel for mediation between the Defender and Challenger of Record. A successful mediation will require agreement between the Parties but if unsuccessful then the Protocol requires the Arbitration Panel to make a decision on the issues of disagreement by March 20, 2020.
By way of background, the America’s Cup Deed of Gift requires racing rules and conditions to be agreed by mutual consent between the Defender and Challenger, but with the modern day America’s Cup involving multi challengers, this is modified by the Protocol under which all teams enter.
Under the AC 36 Protocol, the Challenger of Record has the responsibility to represent all Challengers and that responsibility involves consulting with other Challengers before taking a position with the Defender on issues such as race conditions.
And the Defender is now questioning whether that is happening as they offer this clarification on the issue:
“The Defender does not deal with the other Challengers direct on such issues but works on the basis that the Challenger of Record is presenting the collective position of the Challengers when undertaking such negotiations, not just the view of its own sailing team, Luna Rossa.
“Emirates Team New Zealand was therefore very surprised to learn that the current stance of the Challenger of Record in relation to wind limits does not reflect the collective position of all Challengers. The Defender’s position on the Wind Limits is what is needed to ensure a quality event in Auckland for the benefit of the New Zealand public, international visitors, and the world audience.”
With the America’s Cup, it’s always something.
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)
• 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 allegedly made 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. However, it is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee, nor is there any knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team training as of January 8, 2020.
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