America’s Cup: The race course debate

Published on October 22nd, 2020

The 36th America’s Cup race course will be a windward-leeward configuration between 1.1 to 2.2 nm, with boundaries keeping the racing within a tight arena for spectating. Five course areas were selected, with two of them alongside North Head for land viewing, but a decision by the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel now excludes those two options from consideration.

While live spectating is hard under the best of conditions, particularly with boats that fast, having the spectacle within reach does heighten interest. Considering there are fewer teams competing than planned, and now fewer visitors to spectate due to COVID-19, this decision comes as bad news for the Auckland organizers. Here’s the race course debate:

Defender: After three years of planning a land-based stadium event, the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa has led a campaign through the Arbitration Panel which has destroyed one of the most exciting benefits of the America’s Cup event for the people of Auckland and visitors from throughout New Zealand. Full report.

Challenger of Record: We are disappointed to acknowledge ETNZ’s press release (above). We would therefore like to point out some of the key elements that explain why the Arbitration Panel made the decision (click here) to exclude racecourses B and C from the 36th America’s Cup.

• The America’s Cup is governed by a set of rules accepted by all Challengers and the Defender: the Protocol, which guarantees the sporting fairness of the event.
• A fundamental rule of the Protocol, art. 3.1, specifically provides that all the PRADA Cup Challengers Selection Series races must be sailed “…within the course areas of the Match…”.
• In early September, the Challenger of Record discovered, without having been previously involved nor informed by the Defender, that the Round Robins and the Semi-Finals of the Challengers Selection Series – the PRADA Cup – could not be sailed on courses B and C, designated as preferred courses for the Final Match. A situation that the Defender had kept hidden since the end of January/beginning of February.
• Upon learning of the situation, the Challenger of Record COR36, supported by all the Challengers, requested that the above-mentioned rule 3.1 be enforced.
• With the aim to restore sporting fairness and equity, the Arbitration Panel ruled that either racecourses B and C could be used for all the regattas of the PRADA Cup, or they could not be used at all.

The attacks by Emirates Team New Zealand are intended solely at discrediting the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team with populist pretexts that tend to mask the attempt to gain an unfair advantage over the Challengers who, we repeat, unanimously supported COR 36 by each lodging their own independent submission.


Details: www.americascup.com

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:

Defender:
• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

Challengers:
• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• INEOS Team UK (GBR)
• 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

Details: www.americascup.com

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