America’s Cup: Creating needed curiosity

Published on October 8th, 2020

Among the magic of earlier America’s Cup matches was the anticipation of the first race between defender and challenger. While observers sought to assess the ability of these two teams, waiting for that start gun built anxiety and interest in the event.

But the commercialization of the America’s Cup soon required teams to compete in test events, which were good for sponsors to provide continuity between matches, but lessened the magic of that initial moment as the teams launched into the first race.

The 36th America’s Cup intended to continue this trend, but design delays in 2019 and COVID-19 in 2020 cancelled the plan for the America’s Cup World Series, leaving teams and fans wondering who has the edge, and while possibly frustrating to the “need it now” generation, this delay will create the kind of heightened curiosity the event needs.

Here are a recent stories to feed your curiosity:

Gazing out over Auckland’s historic harbour from the hotel where he is in quarantine, Ben Ainslie felt waves of envy and excitement watching the New Zealand and U.S. crews practising.

Ainslie is nearing the end of two weeks in a room overlooking the waters where he is confident that INEOS Team UK can win the America’s Cup in March, despite the many disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been frustrating to watch those two sailing around but also quite exciting,” Ainslie told Reuters from his room, where he is preparing for the launch of his new foiling AC75 monohull.

“I’ve been cycling away for a couple of hours a day and also doing some Pilates … there have been some pluses to it,” Ainslie said of the isolation New Zealand’s rules have required he and all the other team members complete. – Reuters, full story
One final burn back to the barn onboard American Magic’s AC75 Defiant is one experience Terry Hutchinson won’t soon forget. At the conclusion of another long day of training in late September, helmsman Dean Barker pointed the bulbous blue bow toward the base, some 11 miles away, with a 12-knot breeze tickling the back of his neck. Fifteen minutes later, they were home, having almost cracked the 50-knot barrier along the way.

“It was exciting,” says Hutchinson, who experienced the high-speed tear from the boat’s 12th-man spot in the transom. “It was the first time I’d ever sailed in that spot and it was really good to see the starboard side of the yacht. I was hanging on for dear life because, at 40 knots there’s a lot of movement back there.”

The jovial banter over his comms unit as his teammates chased the elusive five-oh on the speedo, passing powerboats as if they were standing still, is what he remembers most. “It was really cool,” he says, “and it was impressive to see the level of comfort. It’s like when you hear the Formula 1 guys talking to their pit guys as they’re going around the track at more than 100 miles per hour. Just awesome.” – Sailing World, full story


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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