America’s Cup: Supporters get sidelined

Published on January 6th, 2021

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The good old days of the America’s Cup, when you could write a check and expect a ride on the race boat, tragically closed in 2013 when Andrew “Bart” Simpson, a British double Olympic medalist, died as challenger Artemis Racing incurred a disastrous structural failure.

However, the doorway was already narrowing when the America’s Cup shifted away from the IACC monohull after the 2007 edition, replaced with the AC72 catamaran which Luna Rossa helm Chris Draper described as like “driving a Formula One car with an overpowering engine and crappy tires.”

Heck, even during my ride along on an AC45, it was all I could do bring my fingers back to the dock. Hard to write checks with no fingers.

But it was with optimism for the 2021 America’s Cup when the AC75 Class Rule was written with the provision of Rule 29 – Guest Racer which allowed for, with the approval of the Regatta Director, competing yachts to carry a guest racer, as long as their weight was controlled and they do not contribute in any way to the racing of the yacht.

Regatta Director Iain Murray, who was not yet hired when the AC75 Class Rule was written, held a similar role for the 2013 America’s Cup when he had to initiate unprecedented standards following Bart’s death to ensure the safety of the sailors and receive the blessing from the US Coast Guard to permit the event to be held.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Murray, in 2021, does not want to revisit that horrific chapter of the America’s Cup, and has issued his ruling which clearly states, “I have determined that guest racers shall not be carried during the Prada Cup and 36th America’s Cup Match.”

So for notable check writers Patrizio Bertelli, Matteo de Nora, Doug DeVos, Hap Fauth, Roger Penske, and Jim Ratcliffe, consider yourself sidelined.


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• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA) – WITHDRAWN
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN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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