29 September 2017
The Protocol for the 36th America’s Cup has been released at a press conference at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, by Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton, three months after the team’s victory in Bermuda. It provides official confirmation that the next event will be conducted in monohulls, a reaction against the fast and expensive foiling catamarans of Team Oracle USA.
The intention is that cost-containing monohulls will attract more challengers to the event, providing greater appeal to the public and boosting trickle-down effects for the wider marine industry. The last time the event was raced in monohulls was 2007.
The new boats will be 75 feet in length overall, with crews of 10-12 each. “The plans are coming together nicely – we shall have a very exciting boat that will be fast and powerful,” said Dalton.
The challenger trials and 36th America’s Cup match, scheduled for early 2021, will be held close to Auckland near North Shore suburbs Takapuna or Milford. But this depends on the negotiation of a host city agreement and the building of the necessary infrastructure in Auckland. “The intention is to hold it in Auckland 2021. The only reason we went to the America’s Cup was to bring it back here,” said Dalton. “Infrastructure needs to start halfway through 2018. We have not started on a host city agreement so now that will start in earnest to get that written and approved.” If negotiations fall through for any reason the regatta will be held in Italy, home of challengers Luna Rossa.
Dalton also announced that there will also be new rules on nationality in place for team members. Twenty percent, or three crew, whichever is higher, must be citizens of the nation backing the team. The rest must be able to prove 380 days of residency in the country between 1 September 2018 and 1 September 2020, a requirement which will be strictly enforced. “It’s not an attempt to stop yachtsmen earning a living, but it’s an attempt to make a country firstly look at its own before it looks offshore,” Dalton said.
Each team will be permitted to build two boats, the hulls of which must be laminated in the country of the competitor.
Further details will be revealed over the next few months, including class rules and drawings on 30 November that will reveal whether the monohulls will be foiling or nonfoiling, and whether cyclors will feature. “Cyclors are not banned and maybe they are the right way to go, maybe they are not. We will have to wait and see how the boat turns out and you could see them back.”
There is speculation that the 2021 race courses will be longer, possibly between 40 minutes to one hour. This too will be confirmed at the end of November. The Protocol’s design rules will not be released until 31 March.
Dalton also confirmed that Prada has secured exclusive naming and presenting rights as sponsor all events in the 36th America’s Cup, including the Challenger Selection Series, which will officially be named The PRADA Cup.
Patrizio Bertelli, president of Luna Rossa Challenge, is also CEO of the Prada Group. “Luna Rossa has welcomed the opportunity to be Challenger of Record for AC36 as a mark of confidence and support towards Team New Zealand and the new course given to the America’s Cup,” said Bertelli.