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America’s Cup: Welcome to Divorce Court

Published on March 13th, 2020

Cagliari, Italy (March 13, 2020) – Just days after America’s Cup Challenger of Record Luna Rossa (ITA) stated how there were no elements which prohibit the America’s Cup World Series Cagliari – Sardinia to take place on schedule (April 23-26), the Italian team today issued the following statement:
Due to “force majeure” – following the declaration of the Pandemic CoViD19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the restrictions imposed by the different governments – COR 36 has declared the impossibility of organizing the ACWS Sardinia – Cagliari (23-26 April) event at the scheduled date. COR 36 also submitted a proposal to the Defender to postpone the event to a new date.

The Defender published a press release in which it announced the cancellation of the ACWS Sardinia – Cagliari without mentioning COR’s proposal of a new date for the event, and refused COR’s proposal without even discussing it.

COR 36 will submit to the Arbitration Panel the postponement of the ACWS Sardinia – Cagliari to a new date.

The reference to the Defender’s comments, which did not specifically state the event was cancelled,  is more evidence to the fractured relationship between two teams that once were close allies.

The questions now are what alternative date could still fit in the schedule, and what to do with the next planned America’s Cup World Series event on June 4-7 in Portsmouth, England. While it would seem wise at this point to cancel and focus on training at the match venue in Auckland, getting the Defender and COR to agree on anything now appears to be difficult.

As in previous editions of the America’s Cup, the role of the Arbitration Panel is to resolve off-the-water disputes, whilst being responsible for the interpretation of the Protocol and other specific areas of rule compliance.

But for the New Zealand and Italian teams, it’s starting to feel a bit more like Divorce Court.

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 (POSTPONED)
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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