One year to go before the 36th America’s Cup
Published on March 5th, 2020
The clock continues to relentlessly count down to 4pm on the 6th of March 2021 – the start of race 1 of the 36th America’s Cup Presented by Prada.
It marks the first official race of the ‘Defence’ of the Auld Mug for the holder of the America’s Cup. It is the first occasion that the trophy is officially on the line since it was won in Bermuda in 2017.
However, for Emirates Team New Zealand they are taking the view that it’s not about defending the Cup, it is about simply winning it, much the same as all of the Challengers are trying to do.
“For the Challengers, all you are trying to do is win the Cup,” explained teamm COO Kevin Shoebridge. “When you are the Defender you also have other considerations, but at the end of the day, no matter who you are you still need to win it. So this mindset is a subtle change, but I think a correct one and it’s how we are all thinking here.
“One year to go has come around really quickly. It is a pretty exciting time for us as a team. Everything we have put in place over the last couple of years is aiming at the 6th of March 2021 and the subsequent weeks. We feel as though we are in a good space, we have a lot going on this year with developing boat one, developing the 12m test boat, we have boat 2 under construction and we are about to head off to the ACWS regattas. So by the time all of that happens, we are going to be getting pretty close.”
For some members of the team, right now is their time to perform under the immense pressure of delivering to extremely tight deadlines already.
“For us, this is it right now. This is our mini America’s Cup within the campaign,” said Construction Manager Geoff Senior when talking frankly about the construction of the team’s second AC75 that will be racing in 365 days time.
“If we don’t deliver this boat on time then we have failed. So there is a bit of pressure on us, but we are used to that and we know how important it is for the team to receive the boat on time. So we are all guns blazing from here, weekends, we are doing night shift as well. So we take it all pretty seriously.”
Shore Team Manager Sean Regan is the one renowned for cracking the whip at the Emirates Team New Zealand base to make sure of the daily tasks, no matter how big or minute the detail, no stone is left unturned.
“It just never seems to end at the moment, but the buzz will come in less than 9 months’ time at the start of summer when the other teams start turning up and the vibe is going to be here,” notes Regan. “And we all know what we are here for, we are certainly not here for the party. We have to produce a weapon for our sailors to go to war on the water with.”
And that is very much the attitude across all departments of the team. A relentless year-long push to what is one of the most anticipated points of every edition of the America’s Cup.
“It’s going to be an amazing day on March 6th,” expects Shoebridge when he considers the competition. “No one is really going to know on that day how it’s going to play out. The Defender and Challengers wouldn’t have sailed against each other since the last ACWS in December. So March 6 is quite a long way after that a lot of things can happen in that period of time so it’s going to be a really exciting weekend.”
Source: Emirates Team New Zealand
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.
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 (DELAYED)
April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia
June 4-7, 2020 – Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England
December 17-20 – Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
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