American concern for future of America’s Cup

The New York Yacht Club has submitted a challenge for the 37th America’s Cup to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, New Zealand.

The New York Yacht Club won the America’s Cup in 1851 and successfully defended the Cup 26 times. Although in 1983 the Cup was won by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club remained active as a challenger in 1987, 2000 and 2003 before stepping away from the competition. With the creation of the American Magic syndicate, the Club returned to the America’s Cup in 2021.

The American challenge was accompanied by a draft Protocol for the regatta, which would see the Cup Match take place in New Zealand during early 2024, utilising the AC75 class.

Christopher J. Culver, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, said: “The America’s Cup is at a pivotal point in its 170-year history. The competition for the 36th edition was thrilling, and Emirates Team New Zealand was a worthy winner.

“However, the New York Yacht Club, as the original trustee of the event and a participant in the most recent edition, has serious concerns about the future of this great competition. The cost of a competitive campaign, the lack of continuity in the class and the inability to plan beyond the current cycle have combined to create a prohibitive barrier to entry, which has manifested in the dwindling number of challengers and public interest.

“While we await further details on the location, timing and conditions for the 37th America’s Cup, we want to emphatically signal our enthusiasm for a multi-challenger event in 2024.

“Our proposed Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup is the product of months of work and countless conversations with America’s Cup stakeholders, including current and former challengers and defenders. It includes the tools necessary to improve the long-term commercial viability and global reach of the competition, while remaining true to the Deed of Gift and to the spirit of one of international sport’s oldest competitions.”

The draft Protocol put forward by the New York Yacht Club features several key concepts:

  1. A multi-event schedule — time and location — for the next four America’s Cup regattas, which will enable teams, corporate partners and media to plan in advance, think beyond single campaigns and maximise revenue opportunities;
  2. Enhanced and independent event management via the creation of an America’s Cup Board of Governors, which will provide continuity and impartial oversight;
  3. Consistency in design, starting with the confirmation of the AC75 as the class for the 37th America’s Cup;
  4. Stronger crew nationality rules to draw more interest and to promote friendly competition between foreign countries;
  5. Cost-control measures – a predictable, and shorter, three-year cycle; consistency in platform; an increase in one-design components; and a limit of one new boat per Cup cycle, all of which will make the America’s Cup more accessible and more sustainable.

In response a brief joint statement was released by Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd and Challenger of Record INEOS TEAM UK stating: “As the Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup, we are working collaboratively with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand to write the Protocol that will define the rules moving forward. We are delighted to hear that the New York Yacht Club are interested in continuing participation in the America’s Cup and we will keep them informed as we move forward.”

It would seem the New Zealand and British teams are giving nothing away at this point. Although the 36th America’s Cup did not end well for the American team – remember those images of their capsized boat – this challenge and protocol is clearly about the club looking to get involved in the decision making early on – even though entries for the next Cup cycle are not yet open. Although they must wait for the New Zealand Defender and British Challenger of Record to clarify details about the next event, New York Yacht Club has, with this protocol, offered a clear outline of what they want to see.

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