America’s Cup, there is finally a Protocol. What do you think?

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cup-americaIt has taken 9 months of waiting, but finally the long awaited Protocol dictating the thirty-fifth edition of the America’s Cup has arrived: we await the reactions of the potential challengers to the 78-page document released and signed by the defender Oracle (Golden Gate Yacht Club) in sharing with the chosen Challenger of Record, Team Australia to represent Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

The Yankee press release does not include the names of Oracle patron Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts: the floor is given to James “Jimmy” Spithill. A choice that represents, at least in facade, the commonality of purpose between Defender and Challenger. He, an Australian, to race for the Americans.

Read it, and let us know what you think!


THE “HOT” SPOTS IN THE PROTOCOL

Registration. The registration period is set between June 9 and August 8, 2014: those who decide to be in the game will have to shell out $2 million, one immediately and one in surety bond.

The importance of the Series. It was in the air and we anticipated it: between 2015 and 2017, the Series circuit will award points valid for qualifying for the final stage of the Cup. Unlike last year, where the AC World Series did not count for a fig. There will be at least 6 events within the World Series in 2015 (locations will be announced by November 1, 2014) and as many in 2016, aboard (thankfully, no boat changes) the small AC45s. All participating teams will be able to host an event in their own country in order to further “globalize” the Cup.

ac-62-staffBoat. In all 2017 events, they will be raced aboard AC62s, new 62-foot catamarans equipped with foils and rigid wings and crewed by eight people. The tonnage formula has already been communicated to potential challenger teams, but until 2017 we will only be able to see the AC62s in training.

The Qualification’s Series. They will be held in 2017 among all teams with AC62s, and Oracle will also participate. Whoever wins the Qualification’s Series (whether Challenger or Defender), will start the finals with a one-point advantage. A break from traditional patterns that wanted the Defender to train solo during the final stages.

The Challenger Playoff Cup. There will be a series of “playoffs” between the four best teams that came out of the qualifiers: its formula consists of semifinals and finals. The first team to score five points will detach its ticket to the final match against Oracle.

The final match. The AC Match between Challenger and Defender will award the America’s Cup to the first of the teams to reach 7 points (one point per win), up from 9 last year. The location of the playoffs and final challenge will be announced by December 31, 2014. Playoff dates will have to wait a little longer (by February 15, 2015).

Expected wind limits. 5 to 25 knots.

Nationality of crews. At least 25 percent of the crew (so two out of eight) must be members of the nationality of the challenging country.

Jury, race committees and controllers. The Defender and Challenger of Record will appoint the Commercial Commissioner and Regatta Director (who may be removed by Challenger and Defender)as well as the Tonnage Committee and umpires. There will also be an “arbitration panel,” composed of three people registered on the international rolls of independent arbitrators: practically, however, it will have very little power. It will not be able to rule on disputes governed by the powers of the figures and committees listed above: instead, it may decide to fine Cup participants who make disparaging statements against the Cup (fines of up to $250,000 are available). If until now the America’s Cup was to be considered an ISAF “special event,” now the International Sailing Federation has been virtually excluded.
cup-america-3Oracle’s AC62. This “hot” spot was also in the air. The Defender will be able to build two pairs of hulls and two pairs of sleepers, versus the one pair allowed to the challenger teams. The first pair chosen by Oracle is to be used by the U.S. team in the Qualification Series (unless failures occur. However, the hulls of the Defender will have to come from the same mold.

Timing of the various. AC62s may be launched 10 months before the start of the final match. Five months after the final match, the Qualification Series (lasting one month, at locations other than the one set for the final) will begin. This will be followed by playoffs among the top 4 challengers in the city chosen for the Match, two months before the final.

America’s Cup Youth. At least two America’s Cup Youth trials, reserved for young sailors, will be held.

We have deliberately tried to keep ourselves “dry” in our explanation of the Protocol (but we will follow up with a separate commentary): in the meantime, send us your thoughts. Do you feel that the Protocol is too unbalanced toward the Defender? By the way, YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT AT THIS LINK: america cup protocol.

 

 

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