America’s Cup: Avoid the show stopper

Published on October 21st, 2020

While rubbin’ may be racin’ in cars, any rubbin’ during the 36th America’s Cup will get messy with foil cant arms and wings that extend 4 meters from the side of the AC75 hull. Engage in that kind of sword fight, particularly at speed, it will end the day if not the campaign. Report by Duncan Johnstone of Stuff:

America’s Cup veteran Jimmy Spithill has warned of the consequences of boat collisions in the high-powered boats being used at Auckland 2021.

Spithill, now with Italian challenger Luna Rossa, aired his views as he prepared to sail the syndicate’s second boat which was launched in Auckland on Tuesday.

Nicknamed “Pitbull” for his often aggressive racing style, the 41-year-old two-time Cup winner, said teams would need to be “smart” with their tactics as the 75-foot-monohulls had large foil arms hanging precariously out of the windward side with the potential for dangerous tangles in any close-quarter encounters.

“These boats have risk – there’s no two ways about it,” Spithill said. “But every team has to be smart because there is no soft contact, with these foil arms hanging out the side. We’re all learning. No-one has done a race yet – and that’s something we’ve all got to figure out. To be in the running you’ve got to have a boat upright at the end of the race as well.”

With two warmup regattas in Europe cancelled because of COVID-19 pandemic, Spithill said there were so many unknowns about their racing characteristics, but he urged caution.

“I don’t think we want to see contact in these boats because of the way the foil arms are set up. But again, we don’t know what the racing will be like, because none of us have ever raced these boats. That Christmas Cup (December 17-20) will be the first time to see what it is like.”

Spithill’s concerns come after his old friend and rival Dean Barker, now on the wheel of American Magic, called for teams to show respect, fearing a collision could be “a show-stopper”. Full report.


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
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6, 2019 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10, 2019 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2, 2019 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4, 2019 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1
October 16, 2020 – American Magic (USA), Boat 2
October 17, 2020 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 2
October 20, 2020 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 2


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