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Leafing through the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup

There are 86 pages of Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup (the Protocol of the 36th edition was 56 pages) approved on November 15 and published on November 17 2021 by the Defender, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Incorporated, and by the Challenger of Record, the Royal Yacht Squadron Limited. It consists of 11 sections and 76 articles that regulate all aspects of the next edition of the America’s Cup. The Protocol is flanked by the “AC75 Class Rule” and the Technical Regulations of the AC75 Class; 105 more pages. But for the moment we stop at the Protocol. And, leafing through it, it turns out that …
Challenger. To be admitted, the Club that intends to participate in the 37th America’s Cup, in addition to being recognized by the sailing authority of its Country, have at least 200 members who support it financially, organize a regatta at sea per year, must have been established for at least three years. In the 36th it took five years.

The Regattas. The 37th America’s Cup takes place over three events. Preliminary Regattas (two in 2023 with the new AC40 and the final in 2024 with the AC75). Challenger Selection Series (CSS) on Round Robin, semi-finals and final. The Match: series of regattas with the best of 7 victories between the Defender and the Challenger coming out of the CSS. The Match assign the America’s Cup. The Match, CSS and final of the Preliminary Regatta will take place in 2024 at the 37th America’s Cup venue.

Youth and Women’s AC Regattas. To develop and promote the America’s Cup as the highest sailing event, there are two events reserved for young people and women who will compete with the new AC40s. Format and calendar will be published before 30 June 2023.

Te Kahu the test boat used by Emirates Team New Zealand at the 36th edition. The AC40 will be quite different but it will draw a lot from this experience. © Emirates Team New Zealand.

Dates. December 1, 2021: registration opens. March 31, 2022: deadline for announcement of the 37th America’s Cup venue and approximate dates of the regattas. July 31, 2022: registration closes. September 17, 2022: start of the possibility to use AC75. November 30, 2022: final calendar of events. May 31, 2023: deadline for acceptance of further registrations. June 30, 2023: announcement of the format and calendar of Youth and Women’s AC Regattas and conditions of The Match. November 30, 2023: CSS conditions publications.

Date 37th America’s Cup. January-September 2024: indicative period for the final of the Preliminary Regattas, CSS and The Match. The exact dates will depend on the location and hemisphere of the venue.

Challenger. To be admitted the Club that intends to participate in the 37th America’s Cup, in addition to being recognized by the sailing authority of its country, have at least 200 members who support it financially, organize at least one regatta at sea per year, must have been in existence for at least three years. In the 36th, five years were required.

Money 1. In addition to the two subscription installments with the first installment of USD 1,000,000 (US dollars) and the second installment of USD 1,250,000, each Challenger must pay USD 25,000 for America’s Cup brand protection, USD 150,000, for the site web and submit a letter of credit for $ 1,000,000 as a commitment to attend to the 37th America’s Cup. 

Money 2. In recognition of the financial commitment undertaken to organize the events, the Defender is not required to pay any entry fee and contributions.

Forum. There is a Competitor Forum with representatives from Defender, Challenger of Record, other Challengers, regatta director and the organizer America’s Cup Event (ACE)  which will meet every three months to take pint o situation and discuss any problems.

The hull of the AC75 of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team which raced in the 36th America’s Cup under construction at Persico Marine. © Carlo Borlenghi

AC75 limitation. Each competitor may build only one AC75 and may not use test boats that are over 6 meters in length.

Sailing limitazion. Each competitor can sail with only one AC75 at a time and there are non-saling periods, which will be communicated within one month of the announcement of the 37th America’s Cup venue.

New AC75. They shall be built (by lamination or other construction method) in the Country of the Challenger Club. Replaceable bow and stern, materials, equipment, other components and hardware used to build the hull can be from any Country.

The three AC75s who raced in the Prada Cup and the Defender of the 36th America’s Cup.

New Challenger – old AC75. If a new Challenger buys an “old” AC75 it can sail for a maximum of 20 days between June 17, 2022 and September 17, 2022.

Testing limitations. During the development phases of the AC75, tests in the wind tunnel or in the naval tank are prohibited. Only outdoor and open water tests are allowed.

Similar yachts. Competitors are prohibited from navigating, testing or allowing a member of his team to navigate or obtain data and information from third parties relating to a vessel similar to an AC75. Whether or not a boat is similar to an AC75 is at the sole discretion of the Technical Committee which, once installed, may apply retroactive sanctions.

Nationality rules. During all regattas of the 37th America Cup, the Preliminary Regattas, the CSS and The Match, all the crew must be composed by citizens (have the passport of that Country or have resided there for 548 days between 17 March 2018 and 18 March 2021 ) of the country of the relevant Club.

Emerging Nations. A new Challenger intending to participate may request that their Club’s Nation be declared an “Emerging Nation”. If Defender and Challenger of Record accept the request, they will be able to authorize a crew with a certain number of members not from the Emerging Nation.

Participation in other regattas. It is forbidden for all competitors in the 37th America’s Cup and their respective crews to participate, unless authorized by the ACE, in other regattas on monohulls that may compete with, or that are in any way in conflict with the America’s Cup.

Training. If two Challengers are training concurrently, they will have to expect a “coordinated navigation” and will not be able to sail on the same edge less than 400 meters away and for more than 20 seconds and will have to round a buoy spaced at least 30 seconds apart.

For the next episode we will browse the “AC75 Class Rule”, 35 articles plus 12 of the “Technical Regulations” full of numbers and formulas as well as a curiosity: the AC75 crew has lost weight and not only because it has gone from 11 components to 8. In the AC75 Class Rule of the 36th edition, the total weight of the crew was between 960 and 990 kg, for an average sailor weight of 87.2 and 90 kg. The AC Class Rule for the 37th America Cup requires crews with an overall weight between 680 and 700 kg, for an average sailor between 85 and 87.5 kg.

Emilio Martinelli

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