Emirates Team New Zealand and INOES Britannia have announced details of the 37th America’s Cup, though a venue is yet to be confirmed

America’s Cup Defender, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (Emirates Team New Zealand) and their Challenger of Record the Royal Yacht Squadron (INEOS Britannia) have today, Tuesday 16th November, released the protocol for the next America’s Cup.

There has been a great deal of speculation as to where the 37th edition of the America’s Cup would be held, but this information (and a number of other specifics) is missing from the protocol.

Traditionally the Defender defends the trophy in their home country but wrangling over hosting costs and funding for the home team may potentially see Emirates Team New Zealand take their defence overseas.

It was widely rumoured ahead of this Protocol announcement that a venue was unlikely to be released so few will be surprised this has yet to be confirmed. However, there is now a timeline to that crucial information being shared, with 31 March 2022 now the official date by which this will be announced.

The 31 March deadline is also when the date of the next America’s Cup will be made public.

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.”

AC75 retained

The AC75 from the last round of America’s Cup racing will be retained, though with a slightly modified ruleset. These changes should be small enough to allow for new challengers to buy an old generation AC75 and make it class legal.

In a nod to trying to get new teams signed up via this route – which would likely prove cheaper than starting from scratch – 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.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailing their AC75 in the last America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand sailing their AC75 in the last America’s Cup

The Protocol also confirmed the already announced smaller AC40 class for a Youth America’s Cup, Women’s America’s Cup and some preliminary America’s Cup World Series events.

Elsewhere, there are the usual hopes to try to reign in costs with a list of actions all said to be targeting making the America’s Cup more affordable which include:

• 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.

Drive to Survive on the water

Finally there had been a rumour that America’s Cup organisers where considering a behind the scenes show to accompany the racing – widely seen as a reaction to the success of Netflix’s Formula 1 behind the scenes show, Drive to Survive.

This concept is confirmed in the protocol, though only loosely stating that: 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.

37th America’s Cup timeline

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.

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