America’s Cup: Better be fast or else

Published on May 26th, 2020

While the America’s Cup is considered a design contest as much as a sailing race, the 36th edition will be tilted more toward the technical department than possibly ever before. How could it not when the coronavirus pandemic has curtailed so many critical days of sailing? Fast out of the box is going to be vital.

With sailing limited for both the Italian and English challengers at their home base, and the USA team having been off the water since mid-March, first to prepare shipment for the Europe and then to limit the COVID-19 spread, the only good news for the challengers is how the defender has been equally hamstrung.

The kiwi team shipped their boat on January 15 in anticipation of the America’s Cup World Series events in Italy and England, but when those events were cancelled March 18 and March 23, respectively, the shipment went on a lengthy detour before finally returning to Auckland on May 26.

Along with their A75 yacht Te Aihe and 16 containers of gear, it all traveled on 4 ships, visited 15 ports including loading on and off in Tauranga, transhipped in Singapore each way and been loaded off and on in Gioia Tauro, Italy.

“She has been on quite the adventure, but it is good to have her home in one piece thanks largely to the ongoing support of Maersk,” reports Emirates Team New Zealand logistics manager Andy Nottage.

“A positive is that everything was sent away in a relative state of readiness to get set up and ready to go sailing relatively quickly in Cagliari, so that should mean it is not too long to get her back out sailing on the Hauraki Gulf again.

“We have had some new components and systems that were ready for the ACWS racing so the guys are chomping at the bit to getting back out testing the new set ups and continuing our developments and obviously making up for lost time.”

While Italy and England wait for health guidelines in their country to loosen their leash, the USA team anticipates their shipment to finally leave Florida this week for a 30+ day trip to the America’s Cup venue.

However, with health restrictions in place, the New York Yacht Club entry is still waiting for assurances from the New Zealand government they can resume their training. Skipper Terry Hutchinson has been on a media blitz to hopefully move this needle. Will it help? Standing by.

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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