America’s Cup: Optimism for now

Published on April 28th, 2020

The medical community in Japan is moving toward a consensus that holding next year’s Tokyo Olympics on July 23 to August 8 may hinge on finding a coronavirus vaccine. Without that level of protection, the health risk, they contend, will be too great.

The good news is if the fast-track forecast of 12 to 18 months to develop the vaccine proves correct, the Summer Games can be saved. Barely!

But what about the America’s Cup?

With racing to begin in December, and access to the free Race Village planning for up to 50,000 spectators per day, and global attendance demand for hotel rooms anticipated to exceed supply, won’t that pose a similar threat in Auckland?

Apparently not as Aaron Young, Vice Commodore and AC36 Chair at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron confirmed it is full speed ahead.

“At this stage, it’s all on for 2021 with the Prada Cup Challengers Series and the America’s Cup. There are no plans as yet to delay or move them. We have looked into options, and they are still being discussed, but our priority is to move ahead with Plan A.”

Young says that club events planned for 2020 are their chief concern: “We had a Youth America’s Cup event planned in China for later in the year. That is now in jeopardy, given the conditions, and looks unlikely to go ahead.”

To try and hold an event planned for six months from now, the risks are significant. Not to mention the logistics and coordination of travel plans, as well as time constraints when it comes to boat building and testing.

“Obviously, there are situations beyond our control with regards to travel and border regulations, and we have had discussions with the appropriate authorities,” said Young. “We have effectively lost six to seven weeks due to the country-wide shutdown. This affects not just boat building, but other things like volunteer training.”

New Zealand is in a good position as most international visitors see the country as a safe haven. Once restrictions are lifted, the club is still anticipating a number of international visitors to make their way down.

“The irony is, we have seen an increase in enquiries during this period. However, it is proving tough right now to guide visitors on what the rules are with so many restrictions,” notes Young. “Unfortunately, we have had some cancellations too, simply because people have to plan months in advance in order to get here.”

Source: Associated Press, Business Insider, Ocean magazine

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 (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
December 17-20: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 6-15, 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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