Virus outbreak and the America’s Cup

Published on March 5th, 2020

Now that the Italian Government has ordered for all sporting events in Italy take place without fans present for at least the next month due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, what does that mean for the first event of the America’s Cup World Series on April 23-26 in Cagliari, Italy?

As reported in the New Zealand Herald, American Magic helm Dean Barker has labelled the upcoming event a “risky proposition” and is hopeful a decision will be made on the future of the event in the next three weeks as syndicates continue their preparations.

Speaking to Radio Sport Breakfast, Barker said they could only work with the information they had at the moment, which was that at this stage the event would go ahead as planned.

“I think you’d say with everything you read about in Italy, it sounds like it’s certainly a risky proposition right now, but I’m sure the guys running the event there are talking with the Italian government and what have you to try and understand what’s required,” Barker said.

“You hear about football matches and things with no one in the stadiums and all the travel bans around Northern Italy. So, definitely, you do wonder how likely it is that it will happen.”

Barker said he would hope to know the fate of the event within the next three weeks, as time is not a luxury syndicates have in preparing to be set for the main event in Auckland early next year.

While the crews have been out on the water in both scaled-down test boats and the first of their two AC75s, the World Series events give them the opportunity to get a feel for racing the vessels and where they stand in the design and development process.

While the World Series ultimately means nothing in terms of which challenger will compete for the America’s Cup, getting time on the water in a race situation will teach them about how the vessels sail and respond to in-competition scenarios.

Should the Cagliari event be cancelled, the next chance the crews would get to race would be in Portsmouth in June, where the second World Series event is scheduled to be held.


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:

Defender:
• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

Challengers:
• 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

Details: www.americascup.com

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