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America’s Cup: Navigating the outbreak

Published on March 10th, 2020

San Diego, CA (March 10, 2020) – The first event of the 36th America’s Cup is teetering as the significant coronavirus outbreak in Italy weighs heavily on the planning for the America’s Cup World Series Sardegna – Cagliari regatta scheduled for April 23-26.

As the Italian government has cancelled all sporting events in Italy until April 3, and has the country in lockdown where travel is severely limited, America’s Cup teams are meeting today to discuss the future of both the World Series regattas in Cagliari and Portsmouth.

The Italian event is hosted by the Challenger of Record 36 (COR 36) which states that at this stage there are no elements which prohibit the ACWS Cagliari – Sardinia to take place on schedule based on the Italian government’s decree expiring in advance of the event.

As both the British and Italian challengers are currently based in Sardinia, the decision to cancel would affect only the New Zealand and USA teams. If the Italian event is cancelled, the second event planned in Portsmouth might be as well.

As the Protocol for the 36th America’s Cup prohibits teams from training with each other, the World Series events were to offer that opportunity to assess performance. But plans to proceed in Italy are based on speculation for what the government will do, a seemingly risky bet.

Italy is the worst-hit country after China, with cases of the virus confirmed in all 20 Italian regions. In the past 24 hours, coronavirus has killed 168 more people in Italy, the highest toll in a single day since the start of the outbreak in the country.

While the USA team prepares for transit, the New Zealand equipment is already underway to Italy.

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 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


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