America’s Cup: Climbing the curve

Published on December 13th, 2020

Anticipation of the 36th America’s Cup is on the rise. A schedule of practice races in advance of the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland and the PRADA Christmas Race on December 17-20 has pulled back the curtain on the four-boat field of highly qualified teams.

They all have the budget and skills, a bit of a rarity, but pundits have already written off the Brits while Challenger of Record Luna Rossa chief executive Max Sirena admits Team New Zealand has an edge.

However, with this new Class of boat, it’s no surprise that performance isn’t level at this stage, and as seen during the 2013 America’s Cup, where the USA team learned to sail their AC72 just in time, each team is far from knowing the limits of their AC75.

Just getting used to sailing the AC75 is a challenge as shared in this report by the New Zealand Herald:

Team New Zealand’s Peter Burling has given insight into what it’s like sailing their second-generation AC75 Te Rehutai, revealing the struggle of maintaining its control at high speeds.

Although hesitant on giving exact figures on the new boat’s speed, Burling said it was “incredible” how fast they had got at times.

“The best way to understand the speed is to compare it back to the boats we were racing in Bermuda (in 2017), and they’re significantly faster than that,” Burling told Newstalk ZB’s Martin Devlin. “This time around is almost as big a jump as it was from the version five boats after the [catamarans] in performance.”

With such speed comes the challenge of control, however, to which Burling said was an extreme balancing act.

“The margins of getting it right and wrong are pretty tight, generally the harder the boat is to sail, the quicker it goes,” he said. “It’s just about recalibrating to the speeds they’re doing.

“It’s definitely quite on edge but you’re in control while being on that knife-edge, all the time you’re deciding how hard you want to push things. There are definitely times you’re a little bit out of control – when you’re trying to transition through something or you’ve made a little mistake, but generally, they’re pretty short periods where you’re more just trying to regather it.

“I’d say 95 per cent of the time you’re in control.” – 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) – WITHDRAWN
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

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
November 19, 2020 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 2


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