America’s Cup: Intervention to protect public interest

Published on October 28th, 2020

The 36th America’s Cup had identified five course areas that would allow racing within the range of wind directions, with two of them specifically located alongside North Head to deliver viewing from land.

However, these course areas are within high traffic areas, and when their use would not be allowed for the Round Robins and the Semi-Finals of the Challengers Selection Series, the visiting teams called foul, and the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel agreed.

At issue is how the Protocol provides that all the challenger races must be sailed “…within the course areas of the Match…”, thus providing all teams with the opportunity to gain experience from these course areas. However, the panel ruling has now caused problems with the local government.

In a story by the New Zealand Herald, crisis talks are being held in Auckland in an attempt to resolve the latest stand-off engulfing the America’s Cup. Here is the report:

The Herald understands Auckland mayor Phil Goff has requested an urgent meeting with key stakeholders of the regatta, including Nick Hill, chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed).

The move to scrap the inner harbour courses B and C for next year’s event will, according to Team New Zealand, mean that the city views would be lost and that spectators would be “robbed of the best viewing experience”.

Last week Team New Zealand said they were “outraged that after three years of planning a land-based stadium event” Luna Rossa had “wrecked” the concept. It accused the Italian challengers of conducting a “campaign through the arbitration panel” and “misleading the New Zealand public“.

But Kiwi sailing legend and four-time America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth, who was hired by Luna Rossa last month, told NZME (New Zealand Media and Entertainment) that the British and American teams had backed the Italian position. He said the challengers discovered they would not have access to those areas during the challengers’ Prada Cup, handing a tactical advantage to the home team defenders.

In a letter to Team New Zealand’s Stephen Tindall and Grant Dalton, INEOS Team UK’s Ben Ainslie and Grant Simmer, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team’s Francesco Longanesi Cattani and Max Sirena, and New York Yacht Club American Magic’s Hap Fauth and Terry Hutchinson, Goff expressed his “intense disappointment” to see the courses removed.

“This decision has caused dismay among New Zealanders and Aucklanders who have contributed through their rates and taxes to host the event,” Goff wrote in the letter, obtained by the Herald.

“I cannot emphasize enough how much damage this may do to the support and enthusiasm for the event. Nor will the reputation of the event be helped by ‘talking through the media’.”

Goff urged the syndicates to “collectively to do whatever you can to resolve the issues which have led to this outcome”.

“As a city we have played our part to make the event a memorable and worthwhile one for you and ask that you make every effort to ensure that the public can share in the event through being able to watch it from the shore when conditions allow it to be raced on Courses B & C.”


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) – STATUS UNKNOWN
• 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, 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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