Giving new life to the America’s Cup

Published on January 5th, 2021

As translated from Italian publication La Stampa, momentum is building for a shift for the America’s Cup should the Kiwis fail to defend the 36th edition.

Riccardo Bonadeo, the outgoing commodore of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and president of the Azzurra campaigns for the America’s Cup, says above all that he is a fan of the Luna Rossa challenge which entered under the Circolo della Vela Sicilia burgee.

“I cheer because the team represents Italy and then because there is Patrizio Bertelli, who has done so much for sailing and who deserves it.”

Then, there is the analysis of the sailor and of those who lived the America’s Cup on the side of the participant, with the two missions of 1983 and 1987. We discuss the AC75, the new flying monohulls, futuristic boats that really pushed high the bar of technological evolution in sailing.

“A vocation that the America’s Cup has always had and which rightly continues. However, the evolution is concentrated on boats that are sailing, which are in the water.

“With the AC75, we have entered another dimension, where aerodynamics are more important than hydrodynamics. In fact, we speak of flight, not navigation. And the seafaring skills of the crew are no longer enhanced, but other characteristics are required of the latter.”

The discussion is ongoing and dividing sailing enthusiasts. Also, because of the leap, which had already begun with the catamarans of the San Francisco edition of the America’s Cup in 2013, continued with the next one again with the catamarans of Bermuda in 2017 to this edition of Auckland, is even more upward.

The AC75s are very fast boats, where there are three men conducting and adjusting and eight others pumping on the winches to maintain the oil level in the hydraulic systems that move everything, starting with the foil arms.

Also, the decisions are very fast, the glances in fractions of seconds, the helmsman no longer has the time to consult with the tactician, and the reaction-effect relationship is enclosed in a flash.

Certainly, the AC75 are machines that amaze. They also fascinate and charge the few champions who can climb on it with adrenaline. But there is also the party that does not consider the AC75 boats and that turns up its nose. Nostalgic, too. But not only.

Monohulls are complex and expensive objects, so much so that developing them requires stellar budgets, exceptional men and skills: resources that are not so available in the world. “Otherwise,” says Bonadeo, “there would not be only four teams competing in Auckland, but a few more.”

In recent days in America, there was an almost “carbonara” meeting, which was attended by about thirty people, promoted by the New York Yacht Club, with the men who launched the challenge of American Magic (Doug DeVos, Hap Fauth, Roger Penske) to design the future (if any) of the next edition.

The summary of what they said at that assembly ended in an article by Gary Jobson, former vice president of World Sailing, for Sailing World.

Jobson has NYYC commodore, Chris Culver, talk about the possible scenario for the America’s Cup that will come should the US team win in Auckland. In summary: boats in the water of 80-100 feet, with a better balance between sailing skills and technology (on the AC75, they say, there is too much “machine”), which can be seen from afar and which are majestic, which are ideal for traditional match-racing. And simpler, to reduce research and development costs.

A formula that, according to the Americans, should give new life to the America’s Cup, attract more challengers. In the US, then, there would also be a selection of the Defender, as in the past.

“I agree with this approach,” Bonadeo says again. But wasn’t he supporting Luna Rossa? “Sure. I hope Bertelli thinks the same way and that he can apply this change.”


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 24, 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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