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Everything (or almost) on the 37th America’s Cup

Waiting to know where, we finally know how and with which boat will be raced the 37th America’s Cup successfully defended by Emirates Team New Zealand which on 21 March 2021 won for 7 to 3  over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team. On November 17th, after a series of postponements, was published the Protocol developed by the Defender, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and the Challenger of Record, the Royal Yacht Squadron, the most prestigious British yacht club founded in 1815 and based in Cowes on the Isle of Whight.  These are the central points of the Protocol which in 85 pages traces the profile of the next edition of the oldest sailing trophy in the world. A Mugh, born as the “One Hundred Sovereigns Cup” but known by all as the “100 Guineas Cup” made in 1848 by Robert Garrard & Co, His Majesty’s jeweler, and offered for the first time in 1851. The Old Mugh, as it is nicknamed, was 83 centimeters tall and weighed 3.8 kilograms. Today, with the addition of a base bearing the names of the winners, it is one meter and ten centimeters high and weighs 17 kilograms.

On the left the America’s Cup in 1851, on the right today with the base.

The first significant date of the calendar drawn up by the Protocol is December 1st, 2021, the opening day for registrations to the 37th America’s Cup. The registration close on July 31, 2022. Upon registration, the Challenger must pay 1 million dollars USA. The second installment of 1.5 million US dollars (like the first non-refundable) must be paid by 22 September 2022, but can also be paid in installments. The Defender, hearded the Challenger of Record, will still be able to accept (upon payment of a surcharge) or not, registrations up to May 31, 2023. 
Second date to be marked, March 31, 2022 when will be communicated the venue of the Challenger Selections (CSS), former Louis Vuitton Cup that later became the Prada Cup in the 2021 edition and which this time will have another name, and of the final: The Match. The period of the two events will be between January and September 2024 and will depend on the hemisphere of the venue. The CSS will take place in Round Robin, semi-finals and final, all with the Match Race formula and, for the first in the history of the America’s Cup, the Defender will be able to participate in Round Robins, without however entering the ranking of regattas. In addition to the CSS, there are three Preliminary Regattas to be held in 2023; two in locations other than the CSS and The Match venue. The third, will take place shortly before and in the same venue as the two events. The Preliminary Regattas will be raced, the first two with the new AC40, the third and the final with the AC75. 

The two protagonist classes of the 37th America’s Cup: the AC40 and the AC75.

And, coming to the AC75, the Protocol, in order to contain future costs, places as a clause for the challengers that, whoever wins, even the 38th America’s Cup, will be raced with the AC75, the foiling monohull of Auckland 2021. For the 37 edition each challenger will be able to build only one new boat (necessarily built in the country where the challenger Yacht Club is located), will not be able to build any prototype or platform over 6 meters in length that can provide useful information for the development of the AC75 and, as in previous editions, are there will be periods of “no sailing” before the CSS and The Match. Together with the Protocol, the Class Rule and Technical Instructions for the AC75 have also been published (up to 105 pages of rules) which impose restrictions on the use of certain materials and also on steering and control systems. Limitations that aim to reduce costs and therefore to attract possible Challengers. 

The new AC40 will be used in the Preliminary Regattas and the Youth and Women’s AC Regattas. (© AC37 Event)

The second class protagonist of the Preliminary Regattas is the new AC40: the smaller version of the AC75 (about 13 meters versus about 25 meters in length). All teams will have to purchase at least one AC40. All the AC40 will be built by a single New Zealand shipyard. The AC40 as well as in the Preliminary Regattas will be used by the teams in the tests and also in the Youth and Women’s AC Regattas, another novelty of the format that comes out of the Protocol. As part of the events that will precede the CSS and The Match, two events are planned with the AC40s with Under 25, female and mixed crews. And, about of crews and back to the AC75, the crew goes from 11 to 8 members. Everyone must be of the nationality of the challenger Club or have resided in that nation for at least 18 months to be on board the events scheduled for the 37th America’s Cup. Still on the subject of crews and activities at sea, the on-board cameras and telemetry will be in action not only during all the races on the calendar, but also when the boats are engaged in training on the CSS and The Match regatta venue.

The chase boat prototype that Emirates Team New Zealand is working on. (© Emirates Team New Zealand)

But, in Protocoll there is also a novelty for chase boats. Defender and Challenger of Record are in fact evaluating (the final decision, the Protocol says, will be published on 1 June 2022) of requiring each team to use at least two foiling and hydrogen propelled chase boats. The prototype on which Emirates Team New Zealand is working is a 10-meter boat which, if it passes tests and sea trials, will be offered to the teams by the organizer of the 37th America’s Cup ACE (AC37 Event Limited) at a price lower than 2 million New Zealand dollars, about 620,000 euros. However, each team will be able to develop their own chase boats that will have to respect a sort of class rule whit a series of parameters such as being at least 10 meters long, reaching 25 knots only with hydrogen propulsion, being full foiling from 24 knots and reach a maximum speed of 50 knots.

The scheme of the hydrogen propulsion system of the new chase boat.

But which teams and above all on which sea will these chase boats be engaged? At the moment, apart from the Defender and the Challenger of Record, represented by the Ineos Britannia team, there is no official challenger. Luna Rossa, immediately after the Auckland regattas declared that it will be there. Then, apart from rumors of a possible return of Ernesto Bertarelli with Alinghi, there is no confirmation. American Magic, which after Auckland 2021 lost the support of the New York Yacht Club which last October announced that it will not participate in the 37th edition, through its president Terry Hutchinson, will “analyze the cards” in pending, as everyone else , to know the name of the 37th America’s’ Cup venue.

The possible venues of the 37th America’s Cup. Above Auckland, below (in the now sense) Valencia, Barcelona, Jeddah and Corck.

 And here the games are still open. Alongside the possibility of regattas at the Defender’s home, the “away from home” candidates that would be added to Valencia 2007, Valencia 2010 and Bermuda 2017, are those of Spain with Valencia and Barcelona, ​​of Saudi Arabia with Gedda, on the Red Sea, and of Ireland favored with Cork. The answer will arrive by March 31, 2022 and then and finally the Old Mugh will know where to go to wait for a new page of its history to be written.

Emilio Martinelli 

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