America’s Cup: More racing considered

Published on December 20th, 2020

by Duncan Johnstone,
Auckland, New Zealand (December 20, 2020) – The prospect of more official America’s Cup racing or practice before the challenger series starts mid-January has been raised, after light winds forced the PRADA Christmas Cup to be abandoned.

Team New Zealand and INEOS Team UK failed to finish the opening race inside the 45-minute time limit as they struggled off their foils with winds dipping well below the 6.5 knots required on Course A off the East Coast Bays.

It was a frustrating finish to a superb opening regatta that marked the first time the radical AC75s had been raced after world series events in Italy and England were cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regatta director Iain Murray has now raised the prospect of a two-day session of practice racing on January 7 and 8 or 11 and 12 to give his race day operation more time to smooth their performance ahead of the January 15 start to the Prada Cup series that will involve the three challenging teams.

Luna Rossa’s Challenger of Record representative Francesco Longanesi Cattani took that further. In a surprise move, he suggested they would be keen to see the Christmas Cup go up for grabs in some real racing. He noted it would need agreement between the challengers and defenders to make that happen.

The harbour master and maritime authorities would also need to agree, with these boats drawing large spectator fleets. The small fleet has lost nine days of official racing this year and several practice days as well because of unexpected developments.

All the teams have worked out their tight Christmas and New Year schedules already in terms of developing their boats and crews in testing and training and adjustments would need to be made.

Team New Zealand, who are now not scheduled to race until the America’s Cup match starts on March 6, would see any form of racing as an opportunity to get a further gauge against the challengers after winning the world series held from last Thursday till Saturday.

Skipper Peter Burling certainly didn’t back away, eyeing it as another chance to check out systems under pressure and gauge their worth against the challengers. “We haven’t talked about it as a group. But we really enjoy sailing this boat against other people and this period has obviously been a huge opportunity for everyone. I’m sure if there was more practice racing we’d be taking part,” Burling said.

American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson seemed taken back by the unexpected development and said they would have to see how it fitted into their plans, “but at the end of the day we’re racers”. – 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 – 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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