Team New Zealand announces 36th America’s Cup protocol for 2021

Team New Zealand has announced protocol for the 2021 America’s Cup competition promising a spectacular event for spectators and racing teams in Auckland’s City of Sails. 

The protocol for the next America’s Cup was confirmed in New Zealand today promising a spectacular event for spectators with big boats racing just off inner city beaches in Auckland’s City of Sails. 

The 36th America’s Cup will be held in the summer of 2021 with Auckland the chosen venue and a number of lead up events to whet the appetite of the world’s sports fans and sailing enthusiasts. 

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton confirmed the America’s Cup will be raced in 75 foot, high performance monohulls which would hopefully attract more, quality contenders. The hulls must be built in the competitor’s own country but all other components can be manufactured anywhere which Dalton says offers good opportunities for the New Zealand marine industry.

Dalton didn’t rule out foiling capability or cylors and said designers were working on a number of possibilities.  

Each competitor is limited to building two boats and a nationality rule will apply whereby 20% of sailors must be from one country. The rest of the sailing team must meet strict criteria as residents of 380 days in country between 1 September 2018 and 1 September 2020. Crews would likely number 10 to 12 members.

A series of preliminary regattas will be raced internationally in 2019 and 2020 in the AC75 Class boats, culminating with a Christmas Regatta in December 2020 for all competitors.

Dalton said there is a deadline of 30 August 2018 to decide whether Auckland will be ready to host the event.

"The only reason we went to the America's Cup was to bring it back here. We're really clear about that, this is where we want to hold it but we've got nothing in place yet.”

If for any reason the event can’t be in Auckland, which Dalton says is the absolute intention, then it will go to Italy. He said it was only responsible to let challengers know there was a back-up venue if need be. 

Racing wouldn’t take place in Auckland’s inner harbour because of space for the big boats but would be staged off Takapuna or Milford beaches on Auckland’s North Shore, closer in than the last America's Cup in Auckland in 2003.

Dalton said the aim would be to have the America’s Cup yacht bases together as was the case in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour when New Zealand hosted the 2000 and 2003 America’s Cup events.

This created atmosphere and worked superbly well for the competitors and the public, he said.

Emirates Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup in Bermuda three months ago and has worked closely with Luna Rossa, the Italian Challenger of Record, to establish a protocol intended to reflect the true spirit of the America’s Cup - friendly competition between foreign countries. 

Dalton said PRADA would have naming rights and sponsor all events for the 36th America’s Cup including the Challenger Selection Series, which would be known as The PRADA Cup. Luna Rossa will organise the PRADA Cup and Emirates Team New Zealand will organise the America’s Cup Match. 

The dates and venue of both the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup will be announced by 31st August 2018. The intention is for the Match to be raced in March 2021, preceded by The Prada Cup in January and February 2021.

36th America’s Cup key dates

30 November 2017 - AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders

1 January 2018 - Entries for Challengers open
31 March 2018 - AC75 Class Rule published
30 June 2018 - Entries for Challengers  close
31 August 2018 - Location of the America’s Cup Match & The PRADA Cup confirmed
31 August 2018 - Specific race course area confirmed
31 December 2018 - Late entries deadline

31 March 2019 - Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019 - 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events

1 February 2020 - Boat 2 can be launched
TBC during 2020  - 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
10 - 20 December 2020 - America’s Cup Christmas Race

January & February 2021 - The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021 - The America’s Cup Match