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Did Cork dodge America’s Cup bullet?

Published on February 4th, 2023

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and in this report for Irish publication AFLOAT, he reflects on what almost was:

Be careful what you wish for – it might just come to happen. This was the feeling that emerged in much of the rest of Ireland’s sailing community a year or so back, when “America’s Cup Venue Mania” was taking over in Cork.

Anyone Irish who questioned the wisdom, true cost, and long-term benefit of hoping to accommodate a supra-national yet somehow ephemeral event, a happening renowned for the complete and utter self-interest of its main players, was accused (mostly by a select group of Cork folk) of being unpatriotic.

For sure, “little New Zealand” made itself the focus of world sailing attention way above its weight during its years of closest direct contact with the actual AC contest on the water. But now that the circus has for the time being moved on to Barcelona, a recent gloomy account of the abandoned feeling on the Auckland waterfront had emerged.

The reporter moseyed around some of the former focal scenes of the America’s Cup action, and despite it being the height of the New Zealand summer, suggested that long-term facilities viability, with profitable alternative uses emerging after the Cup has left town, has proven to be largely a pipe dream. “A maritime Xanadu” may be over-stating it, but you get the drift.

And even when it was the hub of the action, those of us who previously had cherished an image of New Zealand sailors as being a self-reliant, no-nonsense and practical people – sailors who got on with the enthusiastic sailing of their own largely self-maintained and unpretentious boats – found it difficult to reconcile that time-honored and attractive perception with this new bling-laden image of a razmatazz-dominated display of conspicuous expenditure and kow-towing to the super-rich. – Full report

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup will be held in September/October 2024.

Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
INEOS Britannia (GBR)
Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
NYYC American Magic (USA)
K-Challenge Racing (FRA)

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