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America’s Cup: Kiwi conflict with AC75

Published on September 8th, 2020

While the 12 Meter Class reveled in the strong winds of the 1987 America’s Cup in Australia, the light winds in San Diego during the 1988 Deed of Gift match motivated a new direction for the event, prompting the development of the International America’s Cup Class (IACC) Rule.

The intent of the rule was “to produce wholesome day sailing monohulls of similar performance while fostering design developments that will flow through to the mainstream of yachting….”.

A committee of designers and prospective owners, using the designers’ experience and the performance prediction technology available at the time, developed the Rule prior to the 1992 America’s Cup. The result was a “box-type” rating rule where sail area, displacement, and length can be varied within a specified formula, and certain overall limits.

At about 82 feet, nearly 100 yachts were built until their curtain call at the 2007 America’s Cup, with the 2010 Deed of Gift match again prompting a new direction. But instead of similar continuity, the America’s Cup had successive events in 2013 and 2017 with new boat types, and 2021 will present another change.

Long gone are “wholesome” yachts for the “mainstream of yachting”, replaced with highly technical, frighteningly fast, and epically expensive flying machines. And unlike the consortium that created the IACC, these design shifts are defender driven.

While we didn’t hear much about the cost of developing the designs for the AC72 and AC50, which might be what happens when the defense owner Larry Ellison is among the wealthiest people in the world, the Kiwi nation is learning how Team New Zealand wants the government to help fund the AC75 design.

During an investigation of event finances, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which is footing $40 million of costs for next year’s America’s Cup regatta in Auckland, learned that a $3m payment to Team New Zealand was for designing the AC75 foiling monohull boat class.

While Team New Zealand has maintained that part of creating the radical new design rule for the AC75 was a legitimate event cost, and that it billed for less than half of the $6.9m spent, MBIE states that “such an expense was not contemplated as being within the management and delivery of the Event at the time of the Host Venue Agreement.”

According to New Zealand news site Stuff, the question of whether the design costs are in fact an event cost will now go to mediation.


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) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

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 (CANCELLED)
• 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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