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America’s Cup: Drama is alive and well

Published on July 1st, 2020

With the two editions of the America’s Cup led by Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts, we witnessed an effort to integrate entertainment into the competition, drastically changing the oldest international sporting trophy.

The win by Team New Zealand in 2017 was seen as an opportunity for the America’s Cup to reconnect with its historic roots planted in 1870 with the first edition, but maybe that’s easier said than done.

The reveal of the foiling monohull AC75 wasn’t what we expected, only three challengers wasn’t what was promised, the delayed delivery of one design parts collapsed the launch schedule, and a global pandemic wiped out the competition schedule.

Best laid plans…

But you forge onward, and while the COVID-19 disease continues to impact our lives, the recent arrival of US challenger American Magic to the Auckland venue offered an opportunity again to envision the competition approaching the start line of racing on December 17.

So we thought…

This would be a good time to pull on your waders and lace up your boots, as the news stories coming from New Zealand has the water rising. Here are the bullet points:

• Embattled Emirates Team New Zealand, the subject of complaints of financial mismanagement which are now being probed by government investigators, also claimed nearly $1.5 million under the wage subsidy scheme. Full report.

• Team New Zealand on Wednesday denied misusing public money meant for next year’s America’s Cup yacht race, after allegations that fraudsters siphoned funds from the organisation into an offshore bank account. Full report.

• America’s Cup holders Team New Zealand (TNZ) said on Wednesday they had asked police to investigate an alleged email scam after transferring money to a fraudulent Hungarian bank account. The New Zealand sailing team said they had sent the money to the wrong account after a European-based television contractor they were dealing with was hacked. Full report.

• Emirates Team New Zealand and ACE (America’s Cup Event Ltd) found informants in the event organization (ACE) which had provided highly defamatory and inaccurate allegations regarding financial and structural matters against ACE, ETNZ, and its personnel which has triggered an investigation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which is the lead government agency in staging the 36th America’s Cup. Full report.

• Emirates Team New Zealand has issued a press release of nearly 1800 words that responds to allegations concerning health and safety, irregularities within financial records, a $3,000,000 purported loan, the Hungarian bank account fraud, transparency, etc. Full report.

At least there’s one historic root that remains well-connected… off-the-water drama.


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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