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Blocked borders threaten Youth America’s Cup

Published on June 28th, 2020

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron warns that if immigration rules aren’t sorted soon, the massive effort made for the Youth America’s Cup could become a significant embarrassment for the host club and defender of the 36th America’s Cup.

Seventeen teams from around the world have already signed up for the Youth America’s Cup, which, for the first time, will feature mixed crews. Teams will have ponied up the $73,000 USD entry fee plus $16,000 USD damage deposit, insurance, along with training and crew costs.

The big ticket item for the event is the AC9F, a scaled down 9-meter version of the foiling AC75 monohull, which was specifically designed for the event, with up to seven boats being built to cater to the crews of 18 to 24 year olds.

The Youth America’s Cup will take place over a three week period in the off sailing days of the Prada Cup Challenger Series finals and America’s Cup Match. The schedule for racing in 2021 is on February 18-23, March 1-5, and March 8-12.

But there’s just one problem. Because of New Zealand’s strict border rules due to the COVID-19 disease, none of the teams can get into the country. Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron claims the whole event could soon be in jeopardy, as they’ve got a month to get the green light before teams start pulling out.

Editor’s note: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron claims that tens of millions of dollars could be lost if immigration rules aren’t sorted soon. For sure, there is a pile of money being spent to create these boats, whereas the two previous editions of the Youth America’s Cup used the AC45 catamarans provided by the America’s Cup entrants.

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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, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

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, 2020: 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

Youth America’s Cup Competition
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

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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