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Just over 11 months since Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC75 ‘Te Rehutai’ crossed the finish line to claim the 36th America’s Cup, its younger sister class- the AC40 is already in production.

While much of the world was having a well-earned break during the transition from 2021 into 2022 the 7 axis CNC machine at McConaghy Boats production facility was working 24/7 carving out the tooling for the hull of the new class.

The AC40 hull shape is based on that of Te Rehutai- but is already a generational step forward incorporating a number of developments learned after the completion of AC36 last year.

In usual America’s Cup fashion, the AC40 design and production timeline has been highly condensed yet achievable due to a global collaboration led by Emirates Team New Zealand design team with Dan Bernasconi and Richard Meacham central to the management of the production process with Mark Evans Group Managing Director of McConaghy Boats.

“While the genesis of the AC40 project comes from the familiar design and innovation of the people within the Emirates Team New Zealand design department we have really had to push the limits by utilising a combination of the best of the New Zealand Marine industry as well as key offshore partnerships.

Specialised elements like the rigs are being built by Southern Spars and the boat building talent we have at the ETNZ build facility are producing the foil arms. We also have a great partnership utilising the production power of an organisation like McConaghy Boats in China for the hulls, decks and fit out as well as North Sails Marine group with the aero package.” said Meacham.

AC40, a scaled AC75 day racer

AC40, a scaled AC75 day racer

McConaghy Boats has been building composite race boats with leading construction technologies for over 50 years across a range of classes from Maxi’s like Wild Oats (the most successful yacht in the Sydney Hobart race), all the way down to foiling Mach 2 Moths and Waszps.

But for now, the focus is firmly on rolling out the fleet of AC40’s explained Meacham, “Currently there are already 8 AC40’s under order with McConaghy’s, with teams lined up awaiting possession. We have a world leading marine sector here in New Zealand, but like so many industries there are labour resource constraints, so without partnering with McConaghy’s and utilising their production capabilities we simply would not be able to fulfill the orders in time.”

The first AC40 is expected to be ready to be shipped from the McConaghy facility in July of this year to the Emirates Team New Zealand base in Auckland for its on water commissioning in August. And each successive boat will be rolled out in 5-week increments thereafter as the Challenging teams take possession and prepare to hit the water where the performance across with wind range is estimated to be quite exceptional for a 40-foot boat.

In light winds, the AC40 is expected to be able to sail at up to 26 knots at 46º upwind and 30 knots boat speed at 138º downwind. At the upper limits of 20 knots TWS, the boat speeds are expected to escalate to 39 knots upwind at 41º and 44 knots at an angle of 155º downwind.

AC40, a scaled AC75 day racer

Due to the AC40 being a ‘production boat’, the process has been a bit different to usual for Head of Design Dan Bernasconi, “Normally during the build of an AC boat the design team has a bit more time to develop and finalise the hydraulics, electronics and systems, but because the production process is so rapid in this case we have had to finalise a lot more of our designs in respect to those areas up front and make sure they are spot on.”

While the America’s Cup teams will be using their AC40’s for testing, development, Match race training, and preliminary events, they will be used for both the Women’s and Youth America’s Cup’s as a key tool for creating the pathway into the America’s Cup for women and the next generation of foiling sailors. This pathway made all the easier with the added benefit of the availability of the AC40 simulator developed by Emirates Team New Zealand for pre-delivery training.

As a further step on from this, the AC40 and the simulator will be available to private owners, many of whom are the backbone of high-performance Grand Prix circuits already and could be looking for a new challenge in a dynamic boat that is right up there in terms of performance close to that of the AC75 America’s Cup powerhouses.

“There is even the possibility of private owners having a long-term ambition to race, but initially wanting to give a prospective Youth or Women’s AC crew a leg up with their campaigns by buying one early as well.” said Meacham

“So, despite the pressure of design and pushing this all along, it is exciting to see the moulds completed and production underway on a class of boat that will cover a wide range of use cases.”

AC40, a scaled AC75 day racer

AC40, a scaled AC75 day racer

Published in America's Cup
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A visit to Cork by a technical team on behalf of the America's Cup is proof that an Irish bid is still in the race for hosting in 2024, say insiders.

A technical team has visited Cork city to assess a number of sites as part of the state’s due diligence process on Ireland’s bid to host the 2024 race.

Cork appeared to be the front-runner to host the next America's Cup until politicians got cold feet late last year over cost projections.

Afloat first reported Cork was bidding to bring the Cup to Ireland for the first time last June.

According to the Irish Examiner, a detailed assessment of transport options to and from each of the sites and an examination of the availability of power and other utilities at each location was performed.

The visit included stops at potential race and event locations, including the Tivoli Docks which have been pitched as the event’s technical and team base, and Kennedy Quay, which could host the race village.

It involved a detailed assessment of transport options to and from each of the sites and an examination of the availability of power and other utilities at each location.

The assessments, which are ongoing, will be used to determine the level of state investment that may be required to bring the sites up to a required standard for what’s claimed to be the world’s third-largest sporting event.

The visit by the technical team has been described by sources as a very positive step in the right direction following the Department of Sport’s request in September for another six months to conduct due diligence on the bid.

A decision to postpone the hosting announcement until the end of March has given Cork a lifeline to convince the politicians their proposal is viable - and to convince the Cup’s assessment group they are the right city among four international options. Malaga in Spain has reportedly joined Barcelona and Jeddah as the alternatives.

However, the new race set-up puts those costs closer to €50m, but with further detailed analysis advised.

Political support for the event is also building, with Cork County Council recently agreeing to write to TDs and the sports minister, Catherine Martin, seeking her support to secure the bid for Ireland.

The new race set-up included a proposal to use publicly-owned land at Tivoli docks for the event’s technical and team base instead of a privately-owned dockyard site in Rushbrooke near Cobh.

Under the new race set up, a race village would be set-up on Kennedy Quay, most of which is in public ownership.

It would be the main public and hospitality area for the America’s Cup event, hosting the ‘dock out’ show every morning and prize-giving every evening as well as the main activities around the race, including concerts, food, conference talks, large race viewing screens and live commentary.

The team base and technical area could be accommodated at Tivoli Docks, which is also in public ownership.

The state, if it decides to proceed with the bid, will have to pay up to €55m for the right to host the event and on TV rights, but a cost-benefit analysis has shown that the event could be worth an estimated €500m to the economy.

Much more from The Examiner here

Published in America's Cup
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Whether it'll be based in Cork Harbour or not remains to be seen but what is certain is that there will be a new team challenging for the 37th America's Cup, as Red Bull joins forces with double America's Cup–winning syndicate Alinghi in a campaign for the oldest trophy in international sport.

After an absence of over a decade, one of the most dynamic names in the history of the America's Cup, Alinghi, is returning to battle for sailing's pinnacle honour, and this time the twice consecutive–winning syndicate is partnered by a driving force in global sport, Red Bull.

Sailing under the flag of the Société Nautique de Genève, Alinghi Red Bull Racing begins preparations immediately to race as an official challenger when the Selection Series for the 37th America's Cup begins in 2024.

"While keeping the winning spirit that has always animated Alinghi, we want for this challenge to do something totally different, totally new, totally fresh," said Alinghi founder Ernesto Bertarelli. "When we imagined with Dietrich Mateschitz the involvement of Red Bull in the America's Cup, he said: Our way is not to get into the sport as sponsors, but to blend into the team, to form a true partnership, to nurture young athletes and turn them into the best in their field. He also proposed that we should make contributions to give the America's Cup itself a new dimension."

Bertarelli continued, "With Red Bull we are equal partners in this venture. They will bring their competence, energy and strength in creating performing teams, and we bring our experience in sailing and winning the America's Cup. Alinghi Red Bull Racing will shine a new light on the event."

Alinghi and Red Bull have long been friendly rivals in series such as the GC32 Racing Tour and the Extreme Sailing Series. Having shared this mutual respect and admiration, Hans Peter Steinacher, a two-time Olympic champion in the Tornado Class and Austria's most successful summer sport athlete, is enthusiastic about the new partnership.

 "The America's Cup is – and by volumes – the most important sailing event in the world," said the sailing legend, who has been a leading presence in developing the next generation of sailors as co-founder of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup and Red Bull Foiling Generation. "Alinghi's experience and team spirit are unique in the sport of sailing. All of Red Bull is behind this project, and I doubt it could have been done with another team."

In partnering with Alinghi, Red Bull also brings the expertise of the Red Bull Advanced Technologies unit that has supported Red Bull Racing in achieving a total of five Formula One Drivers' Championships – including the thrilling triumph just secured by Max Verstappen in the last lap of 2021 – as well as four F1 Constructors' Championships.

Fresh from the Formula One final and speaking live via satellite, Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner – himself a game-changer in motorsports – said, "We welcome Alinghi Red Bull Racing to the World of Red Bull, and our F1 team is looking forward to helping this new member of our family to succeed. Red Bull Advanced Technologies is a world-class technology centre that offers services to different entities including other sports, born out of the innovative, technical expertise we've generated throughout our years in F1. Red Bull Advanced Technologies will establish synergies with Alinghi Red Bull Racing. We will share our experiences, engineering tips, etc. It is a two-way cooperation."

Brad Butterworth, four-time winner of the America's Cup, commented, "I have been with Alinghi for 20 years now, and getting into this new challenge with Red Bull is very exciting. The America's Cup is a technology race which is won on the water with race strategy and tactics. Red Bull has demonstrated that time and time again in F1 and in many of the other sports it competes in."

Among the teams that Alinghi Red Bull Racing will prepare to face are the defender, four-time America's Cup winner Emirates Team New Zealand, as well as the challenger of record, INEOS Britannia.

Because the entry period opened only at the beginning of December, sailing enthusiasts can expect the announcement of additional challengers to extend over the next weeks and months.

In conjunction with the America's Cup, Alinghi Red Bull Racing will also field teams in the debut of the Women's America's Cup Regatta, as well as in the return of the Youth America's Cup.

"Growing the sport and its sailors has always been an important focus for both Red Bull and Alinghi. So Alinghi Red Bull Racing's commitment to these regattas is strong, and I think it's going to be inspiring to see these talents in action," said Steinacher.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing will headquarter its operations near Lausanne, in Écublens, Switzerland, where the hull will be built according to the requirement of the Deed of Gift, the governing document of the America's Cup.

A core crew led by Alinghi's GC32 co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis and mainsail trimmer Bryan Mettraux will begin training during the winter period to prepare a 100% Swiss Made crew.

Published in America's Cup
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The 37th America's Cup seems to be attracting multiple early challengers.

The defender Emirates Team New Zealand claims to have already received "several challenges" immediately after the opening of registrations on December 1st.

The New Zealand press cites entries submitted by the Swiss from Alinghi and, confirmed by Max Sirena the skipper of Luna Rossa.

As Afloat reported last month, Cork Harbour is still in the running to stage sailing's biggest prize. An alternative proposal for the staging of the next America’s Cup in Cork could save the State some €80 million. More here.

Published in America's Cup
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The 170-year-old America’s Cup is global sailing’s Sacred Mystery. To be most true to itself, it should be raced in boats - or more accurately sailing machines - that are about as different as possible from the craft used by most sailors as they go about their more normal and largely unpublicised activities on the water.

In contrast to that normality, the America’s Cup is ultimately totally reliant on very high levels of publicity to fuel the enormous resources of commercial sponsorship – much of it for brands at the luxury end of the international spectrum – which are needed to keep the show on the road and fund the contending teams as they advance the technology, while also hiring the best international sailing superstars within a time-frame which enables them to qualify for a somewhat convoluted nationality and residential time frame.

The publication this week of the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup in 2024 moves the “Saga of the Auld Mug” into another chapter. It’s a joint production by defenders Emirates Team New Zealand and their club the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron of Auckland, and the Challengers of Record, INEOS Britannia of Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd, otherwise known as RYSL.

The New York Yacht Club’s giant Reliance, successful defender in 1903, was arguably the first extreme boat in the America’s Cup history. Designed and built by Nat Herreshoff for just one season’s use, she used metals in electrolytic conflict such that it’s said she sizzled when put afloat, and leaked at an increasing pace as the programme progressed. After her successful defence, she was taken over by the US Navy to observe and monitor the continuing electrolytic degradation, and then broken up before she was a year old.The New York Yacht Club’s giant Reliance, successful defender in 1903, was arguably the first extreme boat in the America’s Cup history. Designed and built by Nat Herreshoff for just one season’s use, she used metals in electrolytic conflict such that it’s said she sizzled when put afloat, and leaked at an increasing pace as the programme progressed. After her successful defence, she was taken over by the US Navy to observe and monitor the continuing electrolytic degradation, and then broken up before she was a year old.

For traditionalists, it may seem slightly odd that one of the world’s most historic yacht clubs has lent its name to a run-of-the-mill limited liability company. Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd carries the vague whiff of a brass plate outside a solicitor’s office in an obscure street in Southampton rather than an historic waterfront castle in Cowes. And indeed Hamish Ross, the Auckland-based America’s Cup law expert, has suggested it may be invalid, as the original Deed of Gift stipulated that the challenge should be between the yacht clubs of different nations, and the use of a limited liability company – whatever its name - was not envisaged.

But all that seems to have been blown away this week, with a theme of the Protocol being the wish to make the America’s Cup “more inclusive”, as Ben Ainslie of INEOS Britannia put it, while Grant Dalton of defenders Team New Zealand talks of their desire to limit costs by allowing each team just one AC75 boat – the boat type is going to be used for at least the next two stagings of the cup - while sharing a certain amount of research info, incorporating some one-design features, making do with a crew of eight instead of 11, and planning to create basic boats which will cost only 60 million US dollars apiece….

Maybe so, but as Dalton admits, there’s no upper limit on expenditure, and on past experience he’s expecting that any British, Swiss and Italian challenges – to name but three - will effectively be operating on an open-ended budget. However, the scope of the event is going to be extended to include a women’s series and a youth challenge using the AC 40s. This will lengthen the period over which the 37th America’s Cup is held some time between January and September 2024, making even greater demands on the expectation of prolonged quality sailing weather at the chosen venue.

Charlie Barr (1864-1911). One of the most effective America’s Cup skippers, he commanded three successful defenders for the New York Yacht Club. In doing so, he anticipated the theme of “nationality fluidity”, as he was born in Gourock in Scotland, but his sailing career came to life when he moved to the US in 1885.Charlie Barr (1864-1911). One of the most effective America’s Cup skippers, he commanded three successful defenders for the New York Yacht Club. In doing so, he anticipated the theme of “nationality fluidity”, as he was born in Gourock in Scotland, but his sailing career came to life when he moved to the US in 1885.

In keeping with the inescapable and essential mood of the times, there’s a new emphasis on environmental compatibility, and a high profile will be given to the fact that the official chase boats will be hydrogen-powered. This may see a very small item in the bigger picture, but those boats buzzing efficiently yet cleanly around will be seen on screen by tens of millions worldwide, and their presence will offset the images of the huge carbon footprint of building just one AC75.


Ireland’s own Damian Foxall has recently broadened his environmental portfolio by taking on the role of Sustainability Manager for Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing, which is currently working - among other projects in marine environmental activity - towards the most sustainable possible Vendee Globe campaign.

Damian Foxall has revealed the carbon imprint of the advanced construction of today’s IMOCA 6s and AC 75sDamian Foxall has revealed the carbon imprint of the advanced construction of today’s IMOCA 6s and AC 75s

And in typical style, Damian – who has spoken in favour of the America’s Cup coming to Ireland - crisply makes the point that building just one Vendee Globe IMOCA 60 creates as much carbon as building 105 – that’s one hundred and five - Renault cars. We can be quite sure that building the more complex AC75 has an even bigger footprint, so anything that can be done to alleviate the situation, or at least change perceptions of it, is all to the good for America’s Cup enthusiasts, as the reality is that talk of making it more inclusive and accessible doesn’t really bear examination.

For the fact is that the America’s Cup is elitist in both the most base and yet also the purest sense of the word. Supporters may indeed share in the performance achievements of their favoured crews and sailors, but beyond that it’s like suggesting that Usain Bolt fans have personally run the greatest hundred metres ever.

Admittedly at another level there is a genuine meaning to this, which the ancient Greek philosophers carried to such a height that they argued that the appreciative and knowledgeable spectator of athletics was actually morally and intellectually superior to the athletes themselves.

But with sailing being so totally a wind-powered vehicle sport, there’s an extra barrier between the usually few enough spectators and the performers, and it’s further heightened by the AC crew being anonymously clad in Formula 1-style car-racing kit. So the America’s Cup is essentially elitist and remote, for if it weren’t it would be a waste of time, and that’s all there is to it. It’s top-drawer stuff. 


Thus the staging of it has become one very difficult, demanding and expensive proposition. But if it weren’t for the fact that Ireland has become involved in the venue selection process, it would be hugely entertaining to observe all this wheeler-dealing. However, with Cork apparently still in the potential lineup despite the absence of any likely Irish team, it has become a minefield for anyone in Irish sailing who dares to question the wisdom of spending tens of millions of euros of taxpayers money in developing the sort of shore base facility at the former Verolme Dockyard at Rushbrook in Cork Harbour which the 37th America’s Cup advocates suggest is essential.

Down Cork way within the sailing community, pariah status awaits anyone who doubts the good sense of Cork going hell-for-leather with high-profile public money in pursuit of this America’s Cup Venue status. It takes the greatest Leeside verbal dexterity to side-step stating clearly whether you’re for or against……

America’s Cup crew in action off Auckland, March 2021. The AC75’s need to have crews in crash helmets and protective clothing has increased the empathy gap between spectators and athletes.America’s Cup crew in action off Auckland, March 2021. The AC75’s need to have crews in crash helmets and protective clothing has increased the empathy gap between spectators and athletes.

But in the rest of the country’s sailing world, a sceptical viewpoint can just about survive, even if the debate about cost-effectiveness is blurred by the fact that the most recent figures from the 36th staging is Auckland must be adversely affected by the global pandemic battle.

Nevertheless, last weekend’s detailed Sunday Independent enquiry into the topic by Hugh O’Connell revealed – through use of the Freedom of Information Act - just how far back and how deeply the Irish manoeuvring behind the scenes had been and was still going on, with the analysis of released emails and other sources.

But while the relevant politicians and leading civil servants are specifically named, also involved is someone only referred to as “an Irish citizen”, who clearly played a significant role in getting Ireland on the inside track in this summer and autumn’s “one nation bidding war”, which resulted in publicly-stated demands from Grant Dalton of defenders New Zealand that Ireland should commit within six weeks.

Something very special….Grant Dalton with the America’s CupSomething very special….Grant Dalton with the America’s Cup 

Now with the protocol we see that the decision day for venue selection has been pushed way back to March 31st 2022, which suggests we’re getting into murky water. Or maybe it was rather murky water to begin with, for although most people in Irish sailing could make an educated guess as to who this “Irish citizen” is, it’s significant that Ireland’s largest newspaper stops short of naming the individual in question.

Yet there are alternative ways in which the transformation of Rushbrooke Dockyard could be funded without leaning unduly on the Irish taxpayer. For instance, there would be no better way of projecting the entrepreneurial image of Cork than a local movement to get it done through Munster funding.

Equally, the boundless resources of the might INEOS conglomerate are such that, in order to comply with the apparent need to have a non-British venue, they could simply take over the entire Rushbrook complex lock stock and barrel, re-develop it for multi-team America’s Cup use, and then after two or three stagings of the Cup (the number would probably be dependent on how well our quirky weather proves compatible with America’s Cup requirements), they sell up and move on.

Ripe for development…..the former Verolme Dockyard on Cork Harbour near Cobh.Ripe for development…..the former Verolme Dockyard on Cork Harbour near Cobh.

Whatever happens, it will all add to the special and sometimes scary America’s Cup mystique. That said, we can only hope that the good people living around Cork harbour appreciate that this is contemporary capitalism and consumerism at its reddest in tooth and claw.

Yesterday (Friday’s) American Scuttlebutt included this salutary quote, attributed to a local but un-named Facebook page:

Maybe nice guys can’t win the America’s Cup

Published on November 18th, 2021

It is hard to imagine Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, an A-lister at social gatherings and elbow-rubber with royalty, losing the love of Great Britain. Good looking, well-spoken, and in hot pursuit to bring the America’s Cup home, he does seem to be losing traction at home.

A glimpse of Ainslie’s’ fiery side was seen at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships when he jumped out of his Finn and boarded a media boat to confront the crew before swimming back to his boat and sailing away. He was disqualified from the final races, and was nearly banned from the sport prior to the London 2012 Olympics.

After helping the USA win the 2013 America’s Cup, he launched a campaign for his country, embracing an environmental and educational platform in support of sponsors and the crown. However, it was a new team, and it made new team mistakes, failing to develop a boat capable of winning the 2017 America’s Cup.

Ainslie was ready to put the lessons to get use, but needed a bigger war chest. A chance meeting in Bermuda with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the second richest British billionaire courtesy of his chemical company, launched a new partnership. The sailor exchanged his righteous sponsors for Ratcliffe’s INEOS, a company that’s no friend of the environment, in pursuit of the 2021 America’s Cup.

In 2015, Ainslie had set up his operations in Portsmouth, a port city on England’s south coast. The government had committed significant taxpayer money to assist the development of the team headquarters, relocating businesses to make space for the team’s buildings and facilities.

Thanks and good-bye – it’s “That Building” on the Portsmouth waterfront. Thanks and good-bye – it’s “That Building” on the Portsmouth waterfront. 

It was deemed “a fantastic investment” by politicians, but with the results from 2021 falling short again, Ainslie and Ratcliffe are upping the effort, and that has the locals in Portsmouth screaming foul as the team is leaving the city.

Ainslie’s INEOS Britannia is now based nearly 100 miles to the north in Brackley with Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 as Ratcliffe owns a third of the F1 team and is leveraging that asset to win the Auld Mug. However, the announcement of the move has solicited a strong reaction from a local media Facebook post about the team’s departure:

Leslie Harris: “I don’t think he ever intended to stay long, that building is an eyesore.”

Tina Pink: “Another waste of tax payer’s money, should be made to pay it back!”

Rob Watkins: “Hopefully he’s taking the monstrosity of a building away with him that’s destroyed residents views!”

Other readers have added what they think should be done with the building now it is no longer being used by the team.

Rob Emery: “Knock it down and erect buildings more in keeping with the area, or use it to house the Royal Marine and other maritime museums.”

Paul Henty: “He has used the city, so if he has left who does the building belong to and whose money built it? He should definitely not profit from it, if it reverts back to the council it should be used for youth club/outward bound groups.”

Paul Threadingham: “What a waste of money which could have been spent on other areas in Portsmouth for the people of Portsmouth, not a bunch of spoilt rich boys.”
No venue has yet been set for the America’s Cup and Sir Ben is now being forced to pay £110,000-a-year rent for The Camber after pulling the sailing team from the base in June this year.

The rent is now due as a clause in the contract brings to an end the rent-free period if the building is not being mainly used for the America’s Cup.

Published in W M Nixon
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The Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup was released today by the Defender, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record - Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd and their representative team INEOS Britannia, eight months to the day after Emirates Team New Zealand successfully defended the America’s Cup.

The Protocol sets the foundations and rules of participation for all teams in the 37th America’s Cup and records the items of mutual consent under the America’s Cup Deed of Gift agreed between the Defender and the Challenger of Record which establishes the basis for a multi challenger event.

Defender Emirates Team New Zealand’s CEO Grant Dalton said: “As we saw with AC36, after 170 years, as the oldest trophy in international sport, the America’s Cup maintains its unique position of balancing the traditions of the Deed of Gift while continuing to push the boundaries of innovation, technology and design in the boats, the event, the broadcast and the commercial aspects of the event.

Maintaining this balance is the ongoing challenge and responsibility of the Defender and Challenger of Record as we aim to progress into the 37th edition of the America’s Cup in the ever-changing environment and demands of global sports as well as a determination to drive sustainability through innovation via hydrogen technology for the marine sector which we both believe is reflected in this Protocol.”

INEOS Britannia CEO and Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie said: “As Challenger of Record, INEOS Britannia has sought with the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, to make the next America’s Cup less expensive and more inclusive. The Protocol this time around will see reduced team operating costs without compromising any of the technical development which the Cup is so famous for. There is an opportunity for change, so for AC37 we will see the first Women’s America’s Cup Regatta and we also welcome back the Youth America’s Cup.”

Challenger of Record, INEOS BritanniaChallenger of Record, INEOS Britannia

Defender, Emirates Team New ZealandDefender, Emirates Team New Zealand

An updated ‘Version 2’ of the AC75 Class Rule has been released from the last America’s Cup which specifies the latest requirements to be compliant with the class rule including modification requirements for new teams buying ‘Version 1 AC75’s’ that were built and used by teams competing in AC36.

Cost reduction has been a key consideration as part of the balance in the development of the AC37 Protocol including:

  • Teams are only permitted to build one new AC75.
    • Limitations on the quantity of foils and componentry that can be built for the AC75’s.
    • Introduction of the multipurpose One Design AC40 class which teams will be able to convert and use for testing, component development and Match Race training.
    • AC40 class will then be converted back to the measured One Design AC40 class for use in the exciting new America’s Cup Women’s Regatta and America’s Cup Youth events. These events have been developed to create new accelerated inclusive pathways into the America’s Cup for the growing global talent pool of female and youth sailors.
    • Race crew onboard the AC75 reduced from 11 to 8 sailors.
    • Further One design elements.
    • Shared team recon.
    • Supplied starting software.
    • The AC75 class of boat will be maintained for the next two events.

The shared recon programme whilst reducing costs, is also aimed to give America’s Cup fans the inside track on the testing and development on the water by all the teams. The observations will be made public via AC media channels so that fans can stay up to date with the latest developments as they emerge from the sheds throughout the whole of AC37.

With a view to opening the doors and the continued drive to increase the global audience of the America’s Cup and the sport of sailing, a condition of entry to competitors is they agree to be part of a potential behind-the-scenes documentary series. The intention of this is to bring the secrecy, the drama and all the teams’ personalities into the limelight.

There will be up to three Preliminary Regattas, the first two raced in AC40s, the last one at the Match venue in AC75s. The Challenger Selection Series and the America’s Cup Match will be held in 2024, with the Match Venue and approximate event dates to be announced by 31st March 2022.

AC40 renderAbove and below: AC40 render

AC40 render

The Protocol outlines restrictions on when the AC75’s can be sailed. With the anticipated benefit angled towards new Challengers to AC37, existing teams are not permitted to sail their AC75s’ before the 17th September 2022, however new Challengers entering AC37 that have purchased a second hand AC75 are permitted to sail their AC75 for 20 days from 17th June 2022. There are other restricted sailing periods which are provisional and will be confirmed once the Match venue is announced.

The Crew Nationality Rule will require 100% of the race crew for each competitor to either be a passport holder of the country of the team’s yacht club as of 17th March 2021 or to have been physically present in that country (or, acting on behalf of such yacht club in Auckland, the venue of the AC36 Events) for 18 months of the previous three years prior to 17th March 2021. As an exception to this requirement, there will be a discretionary provision allowing a quota of non-nationals on the race crew for competitors from ‘Emerging Nations.’

As part of the ongoing drive for innovation and new clean technology in the America’s Cup, it is now a mandated obligation of all teams to build and operate two hydrogen powered foiling chase boats for their campaign (subject to proof of concept). It’s hoped showcasing proven hydrogen technology in the marine sector will help create a game-changing pathway for the wider industry and lead to a significant reduction in its carbon footprint. These boats must be a minimum of 10 metres long and the usage and performance criteria is set out in the Protocol.

“A significant proportion of teams carbon footprints is in their on-water operations, through their long days of testing, development and training,” said Grant Dalton.

“So for the past year we have been researching, designing and are now building a prototype hydrogen-powered foiling chase boat which will have a dramatic effect on the reduction of the team's carbon footprints, as well as pushing the development of hydrogen in the marine sector.”

(Above and below) Hydrogen Chase Boat (Above and below) Hydrogen Chase Boat

Race Management will be entirely independent of the event organisation and will be led by the Regatta Director. The umpires and jury that will manage all on the water rules and disputes for all events.

  • The independent Rules and Measurement Committees will be responsible for interpretation of the AC75 Class Rule and the yacht measurement.
  • A three-person Arbitration Panel will oversee and deal with all Protocol disputes with published decisions to maintain the integrity of the event. And there will be a new fast-track process to reduce the potential delays in making decisions on disputed items.

AARON YOUNG: Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

“A lot of work has gone into the AC37 Protocol and we extend our thanks and gratitude to Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record - the Royal Yacht Squadron and INEOS Britannia - for their hard work and commitment to an exciting 37th America’s Cup.

Clearly the 36th America’s Cup was hugely successful despite the difficulties and huge restrictions due to dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic in New Zealand and globally. But as custodians of the America’s Cup along with Emirates Team New Zealand, it is our responsibility to keep building the event for the good of the America’s Cup, and the sport.

We especially welcome the inclusion of both the Youth and Women’s America’s Cup as part of the protocol and event, and believe these are important developments that will increase participation and inclusion within the America’s Cup going forward. We are also pleased to keep pushing the boundaries of innovation, technology, sustainability, participation, broadcast and the commercial aspects of the event. And so we think we have taken a good step forward in that respect.

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will continue to support Team New Zealand as they fulfil their role in the planning, funding and delivery of this AC37 campaign and event.“

ROBERT M. BICKET: Chairman of Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd

“We are delighted with the result of this positive collaboration between the Defender and the Challenger of Record which has resulted in a truly progressive protocol for the 37th America’s Cup designed to promote fair competition and sustainability. Furthermore, we believe that the cost reduction measures and introduction of a women’s and youth event provide new and exciting opportunities within our sport.“

AC 37 Key datesAC 37 Key dates

Key dates:

17th November 2021: AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule V2 Published.
1st December 2021: Entries for Challengers Open.

31st March 2022: Defender to announce Match Venue and approximate event dates.
17th June 2022: New competitors may sail Version 1 AC75’s for 20 sailing days.
31st July 2022: Entry Period Closes.
17th September 2022: Competitors may sail an AC75 Yacht.
30th November 2022: ACE to announce race schedule for the Match.
30th November 2022: ACE to announce racing area for CSS and Match.
31st December 2022: ACE to publish Brand Manual.

31st May 2023: Final cut off for late Challenger entries.
30th June 2023: ACE to publish Youth and Women’s AC Agreement.
30th June 2023: COR/D to publish Match Conditions.
30th November 2023: COR/D to publish CSS Conditions.

Published in America's Cup
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The long-awaited Protocol for the staging of the 37th America’s Cup Series is finally due to be published in Auckland, New Zealand next Wednesday (November 17th).

But meanwhile, a Cork Harbour interest in staging the event has attracted considerable attention at home and abroad, and today’s Sunday Independent features a fascinating in-depth analysis by Hugh O’Connell of the AC activity at the top level behind the scenes as seen from a non-sailing and essentially political point of view.

Check out the full story here (subscription required)

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Would Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise have still won the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 if it had been sailed on the old course, with Plymouth rather than Cherbourg as the finish? Imponderable it may be, but it's a question of renewed interest as the row rumbles on about the in-race shortening of the recent Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021.

This course shortening was done in view of a developing northeasterly storm which soon made the harbour-mouth finish dangerously impossible for smaller boats still at sea. But as everyone is now well aware, it meant that Sunrise – already finished and in port along with two-thirds of the fleet – had to make do with second overall, after looking for a while as though she was about to achieve the magnificent double of Fastnet and Middle Sea overall victories in one season, achieved with such style that it would all have been done and dusted within the space of three months.

But the unhappy outcome instead caused an almighty row, and some of us sought shelter in trying to analyse it from a different point of view. The affable but very keen and obviously extremely effective Tom Kneen is a loyal member of the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, and he happily admitted that in the RORC members' poll about the change to the Fastnet course, he had voted in favour of the traditional finish in Plymouth rather than race the extra 90 miles to a new big-scale welcome in Cherbourg.

The traditional Fastnet finish at Plymouth and the 2021 version with the finish at Cherbourg. It's possible that the extra 90 miles to Cherbourg gave the Plymouth-base Sunrise her overall win.The traditional Fastnet finish at Plymouth and the 2021 version with the finish at Cherbourg. It's possible that the extra 90 miles to Cherbourg gave the Plymouth-base Sunrise her overall win.

Ironically, it may well be that the extra 90 miles "imposition" gave Sunrise her clearcut win. She had been reasonably well-placed but not winning at earlier stages, thus it was the lengthened final stage after the Bishop Rock and up the middle of the English Channel in a private breeze – a feat repeated with almost equal success by Ronan O Siochru's Desert Star from Dun Laoghaire – which saw Sunrise get so clearly into the Glitter Zone.

But having been given a portal to overall success by the long-planned extension of the Fastnet Race, Sunrise then found the door to a Middle Sea repeat slammed shut in her face by the sudden imposition of a course shortening. Some may raise their eyes to heaven and say: "The Lord Giveth, the Lord Taketh Away". But the more grounded have raised – not for the first time – the question of whether well-meaning amateurs should have ultimate control of the running of any major event in which the combined long-term expense of involvement by a huge fleet – whether amateur or professional – is a figure running into tens and probably hundreds of millions of euro.

The crew of Sunrise celebrating what looked like becoming a remarkable double at their finish of the Middle Sea Race 2021 in Malta. Photo: North SailsThe crew of Sunrise celebrating what looked like becoming a remarkable double at their finish of the Middle Sea Race 2021 in Malta. Photo: North Sails

Instinctively, many of us will incline to the support of the enthusiastic amateurs. But the harsher judges will quote Damon Runyon who, on enquiring about the activities of one of his Manhattan acquaintances, was told that: "He is doing the best he can", to which Runyon responded that he found this to be a very over-crowded profession.


The voluntary race administrators in the Royal Malta Yacht Club came in for huge flak and this week issued what is in effect a mea culpa and a promise to do better in future. But it's going to rumble on like the Palme volcano for some time yet, and just yesterday Peter Ryan, the Chairman of ISORA, suggested they should now declare two sets of results as though they'd been running two races of different lengths in parallel all along, which if nothing else would lead to dancing in the streets in the Silversmiths' Quarter in Valetta.

And there have been suggestions that the RORC "should consider its position in relation to the Middle Sea Race", which is polite-speak for saying that the RORC should at least think about withdrawing its active support from what is essentially the Royal Malta YC's premier event. But nothing happens in a vacuum, and people making this extreme proposal are failing to take note that there's a turf war (ridiculous to have a turf war at sea, but there you are) going on between the ORC and the IRC measurement systems.

One of the starts from the harbour in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021. The wind was already from the northeast, and a severe storm – which caused fatalities in nearby Sicily – made the harbour entrance extremely dangerous by the time the smaller boats were finishing.One of the starts from the harbour in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021. The wind was already from the northeast, and a severe storm – which caused fatalities in nearby Sicily – made the harbour entrance extremely dangerous by the time the smaller boats were finishing.

The IRC is very much identified with the RORC, while the ORC has its own setup. And even as quiet territorial expansions are taking place on various fronts with new events emanating from both camps - the interesting Finnish-connected RORC race in the Baltic is one example – a proposed marriage between the World Championships of both systems appears to have resulted in the IRC being left stranded at the altar without a word of explanation.

In this febrile atmosphere, were the RORC to dump on the Royal Malta, it's always possible that the ORC's organisation might step into the breach, for the Middle Sea Race now has a momentum and vitality of its own, and it will happen each year regardless of politicking ashore.

A public spat online was inevitable, and in time we'll be persuaded that it has cleared the air, for that's the way these things happen even if various waters are temporarily muddied. But in global sailing, however big the row, it will only have been in the ha'penny place by comparison with the controversies which are now in the DNA of the America's Cup, which has been a joy and delight for m'learned friends ever since the original hand-written Deed of Gift – inkily scratched on parchment in 1857 – went on to become a Protocol in 1882 which was then revised in 1887.


In Ireland, we may well be suffering from Protocol Fatigue these days, but regardless of our feelings, the long-awaited Protocol for the next staging of the America's Cup – AC37 – will be revealed on Wednesday, November 17th by defenders Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record, Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd.

Doubtless, there'll be many bumps in the road between now and then, just as there have been bumps to the point of chasms in getting to where they are now. It's an uneven progress, with the professional/amateur divide still involved to such an extent that when the New York Yacht Club recently announced that they were "passing" on direct club participation this time around, in a subsequent statement the New Zealanders described the NYYC Commodore as a "Corinthian".

The New York Yacht Club's summer base of Harbour Court, Rhode Island. The Kiwi's description of the Commodore as "Corinthian" did not quite seem to have the usual complimentary intent.The New York Yacht Club's summer base of Harbour Court, Rhode Island. The Kiwi's description of the Commodore as "Corinthian" did not quite seem to have the usual complimentary intent.

This is normally a term of approval, but there was a distinct feeling that approval was not the intention in this case. In addition to the increasingly complex legalities, it made things personal, and that is not a good place to be in a situation like this.

But then this "situation" has become a world of its own. So much so, in fact, that the America's Cup legalities have provided the makings of its own department in the University of Auckland, and it has already graduated its own PhD in the shape of Dr Hamish Ross, who published his latest findings this week. You've probably read it already, but even so, it's a good browse for a November Saturday morning:


In eleven days' time, the Protocol for the 37th America's Cup is due to be revealed, eight months after Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Limited filed a notice challenge under the Deed of Gift.

What can we expect and what is likely to be left unanswered?

Sources close to the Defender indicate that the all-important venue selection is yet to be made and may not be announced until as late as March 2022. This will not be welcome news to the Challenger of Record, who will be getting impatient. It has a right to fall back onto the Deed default match terms if relations become strained, which will likely result in a commercial black hole.

Given the selected venue may impact the yacht to be raced, publication of the Class Rule may be similarly delayed, although it was at least agreed last March, that it would be in the AC75 class used in Auckland. There are always refinements to be made. If there is a meaningful push towards costs savings, as has been announced, look for more supplied or common design elements in the same way as the foil systems were supplied for AC36 in Auckland.

Unfortunately, the Deed requirement that the competing yachts must be "constructed in the country" of the respective competing yacht clubs puts the brakes on what could be achieved. In the past, this requirement has sometimes been interpreted rather liberally focusing on the hull, but many would agree that the Deed probably only requires an assembly of components, which can be sourced from anywhere, to create a yacht.
The "construction in-country" term of the Deed has never been fully tested in a court or jury, although the issue was on the table at the end of the 2010 match. Expect sailing restrictions and launch dates to remain to limit the advantages of well-funded competitors.

Dr Hamish Ross took his PhD at Auckland University in America's Cup law.Dr Hamish Ross took his PhD at Auckland University in America's Cup law.

Commercial rights will likely largely remain as they have been since Valencia 2007. Will there be a profit-sharing mechanism between competitors as in 2007 and 2013, if there is a financial surplus? It would seem a major venue financial windfall would be unlikely in the current economic climate.

Timing of the match, and the preceding challenger series may be difficult to fix without a venue having been decided. Don't expect to see firm dates yet. The Deed has hemisphere restrictions limiting the times when a match can be held in each hemisphere. There are seasonal weather and oceanographic factors to be considered at any venue.

Additionally, there is the timing of other events to consider. Few would want to take on a head-on commercial and media clash with the Olympics or the Football World Cup, which traditionally sucks out a lot of sports fan eyeballs and commercial sponsorship from the sports sponsorship market.

A profitable venture – the America's Cup 2007 at Valencia. Ireland's Marcus Hutchinson was on the management team, and the event showed a profit.A profitable venture – the America's Cup 2007 at Valencia. Ireland's Marcus Hutchinson was on the management team, and the event showed a profit.

What other events will be held before the start of the challenger series? Expect a warmup regatta or two. There may be a concessionary warm-up regatta in Auckland on the table to try to calm local waters. But these regattas all cost money, a loss of valuable time and never raise enough money for them to be self-funding when an effort is said to be made to reduce costs.

More chance they will be held in the selected venue than holding a global circuit like Sail GP. A defender will always want an opportunity to check-in against the challengers before the match to try and limit any surprises. Expect Sail GP to actively look into holding an event or two in Auckland during the America's Cup match, if Auckland is not the selected venue!

What will prospective challengers be looking for? When will they see the Class Rule? How long will they have to design, build and test a yacht? How much of a design head start have the Defender and the Challenger of Record given themselves? What will it cost them to compete? Can they hire the design, boatbuilding and sailing talent needed?

This will put the nationality rule into sharp focus– can they get approvals from the Defender as an "emerging nation"? Where will it be held? Don't expect billionaires to line up for an unattractive venue with security risks. What advertising space on the yacht do they have to sell to their sponsors and what space will be taken by the event and in what product categories? Will Prada or Louis Vuitton return as a sponsor? Above all, is there a chance to win or is it simply too stacked up against us?

Expect entry fees to remain the same or increase. US$3,350,000 plus a bond of US$1m was the cheapest entry last time. Expect the challenges to again contribute towards the costs of the challenger selection series unless a sponsor agrees to fund it as did Prada last time.

Finally, who gets to amend the Protocol and the Class Rules? Can anyone competitor block a change? Will there be a tyranny of the majority or simply a Defender and Challenger of Record dictatorship?
Drafting a Protocol involves a delicate balance of many issues both sporting and commercial. Get it wrong and it could be 2007-2010 all over again. Nail it, and it will be back to the big America's Cup heydays of Fremantle 1986-87 or Valencia 2007.


For the top end of the international sailing world, the next ten days will be extremely interesting, as we can only guess at the global wheeling and dealing and drafting going on behind the scenes. And when the AC37 Protocol is published, we can be quite sure there'll be controversy, which is meat and drink to the communications industry in all its forms.

In fact, controversy is the gift that just keeps on giving. For even after you've agreed a settlement on whatever is causing the current high profile controversy, you can then go on to have a controversy about how the word "controversy" should be properly pronounced… 

Published in W M Nixon

Valencia has withdrawn from the race to host the 37th America's Cup - but Spain is still very much in it according to the latest reports from the New Zealand Herald

International yachting sources have confirmed that a second Spanish bid is being made, dampening some of the rumours doing the rounds in sailing circles that the Saudis are at the front of the queue with a big-money bid to hold the regatta in Jeddah.

Team New Zealand's announcement of the new one-design AC40 yacht that will help expand pathways into the main event, particularly for women, also contained a largely overlooked line. It said the 37th America's Cup will be a multi-challenger event - effectively closing the door on the proposed one-on-one challenge at Cowes between Team NZ and Ineos Team UK.

So Spain (probably Barcelona), Cork Harbour and Jeddah remain potential venues, one of whom is likely to be named on Friday.

Much more in the New Zealand Herald here.

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It was discussed in the Seanad on Wednesday the fifth of March in 2003…..

Senator Joe O'Toole, a teacher by profession was an Independent Senator, served as General Secretary of the National Teachers Organisation and President of the Congress of Trade Unions… and came from Dingle...

So, he suggested to another Kerryman, then Sports Minister John O'Donogue, that Dingle would be a good base for the Cup to be sailed… It had just been concluded in Auckland, won by Switzerland… It would bring a billion to the west…. marinas in Cahirciveen, Fenit and Kilrush and, of course, Dingle, Would support it, he said.

The America's Cup didn't come to Dingle … The Minister for Sport at the time wasn't rushing to secure it, as I remember covering that story for RTE….

Now I'm tired of being asked to support various campaigns underway to get the AC for Cork and tired too of being described as a "begrudger" when I raise questions about it and also tired of being called "elitist" when defending sailing.

I believe in sailing as a "sport for all" ….. I don't like sailing being described as "elitist" and that is increasing – arising from the AC proposal.

Supporters of the 'AC for Cork' haven't acknowledged 2024 also as an Olympics Year in Paris…. Should the America's Cup, in which no Irish team is likely to be taking part because it couldn't be afforded, get many millions of taxpayer-funded Euros when there is still not enough State support for Irish sailors taking part in the Olympics?

Which would be of more benefit to the sport?

Pointing to the Round the World Race in Galway overlooks that, while big crowds attended the 'festival' around the event --- and there was an Irish boat involved…. it left unpaid bills behind for a while and that caused some resentment ….

Ireland's brigantine Asgard II at the Australian 200th celebrationsIreland's brigantine Asgard II at the Australian 200th celebrations

So, what about the photo of Asgard printed here, which in the past week appeared on social media, posted by the well-known, renowned Gerry Burns…

Asgard at the Australian 200th celebrations – "a great ambassador for Ireland" – the value of teaching hundreds of young people from all sectors of life the wide value of sailing ….and never given enough dedicated State support by the Department of Defence whose responsibility it was and with a Minister, Willie O'Dea, who wouldn't give the insurance compensation money for its sinking to replace it….

If there are millions available for a maritime event, why wouldn't it be put into leisure maritime development around the Irish coast?

The Tall Ships Races brought crowds and economic benefits to Cork, Dublin and Waterford, where there were three Irish tall ships taking part… now we have none actively sailing… so much for the continued support of sailing…

The AC has become a big commercial business, where money dictates more than sailing….. where the attempt seems to be to bulldoze Ireland into taking on a massive cost in a short timeframe … and helping to pay for the New Zealand defence which, if Team New Zealand can't find a location, could end up in another AC legal wrangle…

The America's Cup has become a big commercial businessThe America's Cup has become a big commercial business

If there are millions available for a maritime event, why wouldn't it be put into leisure maritime development around the Irish coast – more public marine leisure facilities, marinas, which might bring many more visitors, more regularly or club development to encourage more public involvement and rid sailing of that 'elitist' tag…..

When the government of the leading sailing nation in the world won't give the AC organisation in its own country the amount of money they want to hold the event in Auckland, I wonder who may end up being mugs for the elite of the AC? 

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago