America’s Cup number 37, the next one, began the very moment Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line of the race that marked a 7-3 victory over Luna Rossa in the America’s Cup Final. And predictably, it only took a few hours to already have the first news about what the next Cup will look like.
Let’s start with the definite news. Ineos Team UK is officially the new Challenger of Record, that is, the first challenger, the one who will be able to discuss with the Kiwis the new Protocol, the format of the regatta and all the rules. The British challenge was presented by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the Cowes club on the Isle of Wight, and accepted by Aaron Young, Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club, the club representing the Kiwis. The incident occurred within minutes of Team New Zealand’s victory. A countermove is expected in the coming weeks from Luna Rossa, which has already stated that it wants to be in the game but wants to know the rules of the game first.
The second piece of official news is that the next Cup will still be with AC 75s, and barring any changes even edition number 38, there is no going back but rather looking forward to see how we can further improve and evolve these boats. One of the topics of discussion between the defender and the new challenger will be on how to try to contain the costs of some items to allow more challengers to participate. Also for this reason, but more thoughts could be opened on this, only one new boat will be allowed to be built for the next event. After all, the teams already have two hulls at their disposal, one of which realistically will be sold to potential new unions as a training boat.
A new crew nationality rule will require that 100 percent of each competitor’s team in the boat hold a passport from the country of the team’s yacht club as of March 19, 2021, or have been physically present in that country (or, acting on behalf of that yacht club in Auckland, site of AC36 events) for two of the three years prior to March 18, 2021. As an exception to this requirement, there will be a discretionary provision allowing a quota of non-nationals in the race crew for competitors from “Emerging Nations.”
The next venue will be announced within a few months, six to be exact, and the dates of the regattas announced in the protocol.
Thus, the hoax of a two-way match between Ineos and Team New Zealand in the Solent in a year’s time seems to be fading away, news that had been circulated by some media outlets but apparently devoid of any foundation even in light of statements by Ineos and Team New Zealand that they plan to make arrangements to curb budgets and expand the challenge to other teams as well. This is not to say that there cannot be an event a year from now in England. A show regatta with one or more teams, to give continuity to the work and take advantage of the opportunity to race while waiting for the next Cup.