Cork keeps Irish America’s Cup dream alive with new cheaper proposal

New bid would mean government cost savings of €80m in staging fees.

The dream of staging the 37th America’s Cup in Cork, Ireland is still very much alive.

Far from giving up on the quest to secure the government funding required to bring the international regatta to the city, the bid team in Cork have put forward an impressive and – importantly – less expensive alternative proposal.

Having received a lukewarm government response to an initial plan to base the AC37 team bases and race village on privately owned land, the group is now pitching the much cheaper option of using publicly owned land to host the international event.

The new proposition would see the technical area and team bases for the 37th America’s Cup located at Tivoli Docks, a site within the Port of Cork deep water commercial shipping facility situated on the River Lee (see header image).

Meanwhile the event’s public access race village would be located separately upriver at Kennedy Quay (below), close to the city centre and the main train and bus stations.

A downside of the shift to the Tivoli site from the originally proposed privately-owned dockyard site in Rushbrooke near Cobh is that it would mean a much longer tow out time for the teams to reach the suggested racing area on the open waters outside the Cork Harbour entrance.

The huge plus, however, is the estimated government cost savings of €80m in staging fees, to put on the 37th America’s Cup.

How the Irish Government has received the new plans is unknown at this point. In September politicians and civil servants asked for six-month due diligence period to consider the viability of Ireland hosting the America’s Cup.

Many believed then that the government’s stance spelled disaster for Cork’s America’s Cup hopes.

However, the recent announcement by the America’s Cup holder Emirates Team New Zealand that the AC37 venue announcement had been put back to the end of March 2022 means the Irish city is very much still in the running.

The cost of preparing the newly proposed sites is estimated to be around 50 million Euros. Additionally, the Irish Government would have to stump up a further 55 million Euros for the right to host the event, which is expected to take place in 2024.

That’s a significant investment for any country to make on a sporting event, but with an estimated return of up to 500 million Euros, as well as the legacy benefit of rejuvenating two of Cork’s publicly owned sites, it could well be an appealing one politically.

Speaking from Auckland, New Zealand during the November 17 announcement of the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup Emirates team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton confessed that the team had how long negotiating the AC37 venue would take.

“It’s ongoing, it’s not an easy job as we are finding,” Dalton said. “We were too ambitious with September 17, but it has also focussed minds, so it’s bittersweet.”

Without specifically mentioning the three ‘foreign’ bidders believed to be in contention to host the 2024 event – Cork, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and an all of Spain proposal – Dalton appeared confident of doing a deal by the March 31 next year deadline.

Intriguingly though the ETNZ boss clearly remained open to the option of staging an America’s Cup defence in Auckland home waters – as well as dropping in a seemingly throwaway comment about the possibility of there being a previously unanticipated wildcard bid to stage for AC37.

“Maybe there’s one ‘bolter’ that no one knows about – you never know,” Dalton said with a mischievous wink.

Where in the world such a ‘bolter bid’ to host the 37th America’s Cup might come from is impossible to say at this stage. There is, of course, always the chance that as the wily and experienced negotiator that Dalton is known to be, he cunningly dropped that comment in as a tactic to keep the various current bidders on their toes.

American Magic welcomes release of AC37 Protocol

New Protocol provides ‘a framework to allow design and planning work to accelerate for all teams’

The US America’s Cup syndicate American Magic has given a cautious thumbs up to the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup which was released earlier this week by the Cup holders Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record Ineos Britannia.

A statement issued by American team, which is led by Terry Hutchinson and backed by Doug DeVos and Hap Fauth, said that it welcomed the new Protocol’s release. Although the venue for AC37 is still unknown the US team said the document provided ‘a framework to allow design and planning work to accelerate for all teams’.

"Our team plans to compete at AC37, and as part of that process we continue to learn as much about the next event as we can," said DeVos, American Magic co-founder and team Principal.

"The racing venue and the regatta dates remain unknown, but the release of the Protocol and the Class Rule is definitely welcome.”

The AC37 Protocol was created by Team New Zealand in conjunction the British syndicate Ineos Britannia led by Ben Ainslie and backed by Jim Ratcliffe.

It includes a set of changes to the AC75 design rule aimed at making the boats lighter and more powerful thereby improving performance in lighter winds – an issue with the current generation of boats.

Crew numbers have also been reduced from 11 to eight and the option using of ‘cyclors’ rather than conventional grinders has also been reintroduced.

The Protocol also features a number of measures aimed at reducing the cost of mounting an America’s Cup challenge. As well as initiatives such as shared reconnaissance and supplied starting software, teams will only be allowed to build one AC75 for AC37 (two were allowed in AC36), but a new America’s Cup class – the four-person AC40 – has been introduced to allow teams to hone their match racing skills and for foil development.

The Protocol also sees the return of the Youth America’s Cup and the introduction of a Women’s AC – both to take place in one-design AC40s.

In an effort to improve the America’s Cup’s sustainability image the teams are required to build and operate two hydrogen powered foiling chase boats for their campaigns.

“The big-picture goals outlined in this Protocol, in terms of helping the America's Cup as an event gain teams, raise visibility, improve racing, create more diversity, include female sailors, and increase sustainability, are goals that American Magic absolutely supports," DeVos commented.

Terry Hutchinson, American Magic’s skipper and president of sailing operations, said the team had already begun an in-depth analysis of the Protocol document.

"So much is uncertain from a rules perspective until we have these documents in hand," Hutchinson said.

"Fortunately, we have not been sitting still as we waited. Thanks to the support of our principals, our design team and our operations staff have been laying the groundwork for our next campaign."

"There is a lot about the documents that we like already, but all together this is roughly 200 pages of info, and we are still digging into it,” he added.

“We are also keeping an open mind about some of the more ambitious aspects of the plan put forward by ETNZ and INEOS. We want AC37 to be a competitive, successful event, and we hope all the teams can work together to make that happen."

American Magic began developing new design concepts and tools as soon as it was announced shortly after the 36th America's Cup Match in Auckland that the AC75 foiling monohull would remain as the racing platform for the next Cup. AC37 in 2024 will be the first America's Cup since AC32 in 2007 where the class of boat will remain largely the same for consecutive events.

"We had been given a heads up by ETNZ and INEOS on most of the anticipated changes in the AC75 Class Rule, so there are no huge surprises," said American Magic's design coordinator and a two-time America’s Cup winner Scott Ferguson.

"However, this is the first time we've seen the actual rule text. The first order of business is checking it against the AC36 version of the rule, and then really digging into the new wording. The designers will review the aspects of the Rule related to their individual areas of expertise, and work will begin to explore the revised design space."

In terms of how these Class Rule changes will impact the Cup, Ferguson said that the racing conducted in Auckland clearly influenced how the rule was tweaked.

"One of the shortcomings of the AC75 Class [during AC36] was racing in light air. The rule changes have addressed this by expanding the foil span box by 12.5 per cent and reducing the weight of the boat by about 11 percent. Both changes are key to improving light air performance."

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Protocol announced for 37th America's Cup

AC37 to be more inclusive and less expensive says Defender Emirates Team New Zealand as AC75 crew numbers reduced from 11 to eight sailors

The Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup was released today by the Defender, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record - Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd and their representative team INEOS Britannia, eight months to the day after Emirates Team New Zealand successfully defended the America’s Cup.

The Protocol sets the foundations and rules of participation for all teams in the 37th America’s Cup and records the items of mutual consent under the America’s Cup Deed of Gift agreed between the Defender and the Challenger of Record which establishes the basis for a multi challenger event.

“As we saw with AC36, after 170 years, as the oldest trophy in international sport, the America’s Cup maintains its unique position of balancing the traditions of the Deed of Gift while continuing to push the boundaries of innovation, technology and design in the boats, the event, the broadcast and the commercial aspects of the event,” said Emirates Team New Zealand’s CEO Grant Dalton.

“Maintaining this balance is the ongoing challenge and responsibility of the Defender and Challenger of Record as we aim to progress into the 37th edition of the America’s Cup in the ever-changing environment and demands of global sports as well as a determination to drive sustainability through innovation via hydrogen technology for the marine sector which we both believe is reflected in this Protocol,” Dalton said.

INEOS Britannia CEO and Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie commented: “As Challenger of Record INEOS Britannia have sought, with the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, to make the next America’s Cup less expensive and more inclusive.

The Protocol this time around will see reduced team operating costs without compromising any of the technical development which the Cup is so famous for.

There is an opportunity for change, so for AC37 we will see the first Women’s America’s Cup Regatta and we also welcome back the Youth America’s Cup.”

An updated ‘Version 2’ of the AC75 Class Rule has been released which specifies the latest requirements to be class legal including modification requirements for new teams buying ‘Version 1 AC75’s’ that were built and used by teams competing in AC36.

Cost reduction has been a key consideration as part of the balance in the development of the AC37 Protocol including:

• Teams are only permitted to build one new AC75

• The AC75 class of boat will be maintained for the next two events

• Limitations on the quantity of foils and componentry that can be built for the AC75’s

• Introduction of the multipurpose One Design AC40 class which teams will be able to convert and use for testing, component development and Match Race training

• AC40 class will then be converted back to the measured One Design AC40 class for use in the exciting new America’s Cup Women’s Regatta and America’s Cup Youth events. These events have been developed to create new accelerated inclusive pathways into the America’s Cup for the growing global talent pool of female and youth sailors.

• Race crew onboard the AC75 reduced from 11 to 8 sailors

• Further one design elements

• Shared team reconnaissance

• Supplied starting software

The shared recon programme whilst reducing costs, is also aimed to give America’s Cup fans the inside track from all the teams testing and development on the water. The observations will be made public via AC media channels so that fans can stay up to date with the latest developments as they emerge from the sheds throughout the whole of AC37.

With a view to opening the doors and continued drive to increase the global audience of the America’s Cup and the sport of sailing, a condition of entry to competitors is they agree to be part of a potential behind the scenes documentary series. The intention of this is to bring the secrecy, the drama and all the teams’ personalities into the limelight.

There will be up to three Preliminary Regattas, the first two raced in AC40s, the last one at the Match venue in AC75s. The Challenger Selection Series and the America’s Cup Match will be held in 2024, with the Match Venue and approximate event dates to be announced by 31st March 2022.

The Protocol outlines restrictions on when the AC75’s can be sailed. With the anticipated benefit angled towards new Challengers to AC37, existing teams are not permitted to sail their AC75s’ before the 17th September 2022, however new Challengers entering AC37 that have purchased a second hand AC75 are permitted to sail their AC75 for 20 days from 17th June 2022.

There are other restricted sailing periods which are provisional and will be confirmed once the Match venue is announced.

The Crew Nationality Rule will require 100 per cent of the race crew for each competitor to either be a passport holder of the country of the team’s yacht club as of 17th March 2021 or to have been physically present in that country (or, acting on behalf of such yacht club in Auckland, the venue of the AC36 Events) for 18 months of the previous three years prior to 17th March 2021.

As an exception to this requirement, there will be a discretionary provision allowing a quota of non-nationals on the race crew for competitors from ‘Emerging Nations.’

As part of the ongoing drive for innovation and new clean technology in the America’s Cup, it is now a mandated obligation of all teams to build and operate two hydrogen powered foiling chase boats for their campaign (subject to proof of concept).

It’s hoped showcasing proven hydrogen technology in the marine sector will help create a game-changing pathway for the wider industry and lead to a significant reduction in its carbon footprint. These boats must be a minimum of 10 metres long and the usage and performance criteria is set out in the Protocol.

“A significant proportion of teams carbon footprints is in their on-water operations, through their long days of testing, development and training,” said Grant Dalton.

“So for the past year we have been researching, designing and are now building a prototype hydrogen powered foiling chase boat which will have a dramatic effect on the reduction of the teams carbon footprints, as well as pushing the development of hydrogen in the marine sector.”

Race Management will be entirely independent of the event organisation and will be led by the Regatta Director. The umpires and jury that will manage all on the water rules and disputes for all events.

• The independent Rules and Measurement Committees will be responsible for interpretation of the AC75 Class Rule and the yacht measurement.

• A three-person Arbitration Panel will oversee and deal with all Protocol disputes with published decisions to maintain the integrity of the event.

“A lot of work has gone into the AC37 Protocol and we extend our thanks and gratitude to Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record - the Royal Yacht Squadron and INEOS Britannia - for their hard work and commitment to an exciting 37th America’s Cup,” said Aaron Young, Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

“Clearly the 36th America’s Cup was hugely successful despite the difficulties and huge restrictions due to dealing with Covid 19 pandemic in New Zealand and globally. But as custodians of the America’s Cup along with Emirates Team New Zealand, it is our responsibility to keep building the event for the good of the America’s Cup, and the sport.

“We especially welcome the inclusion of both the Youth and Women’s America’s Cup as part of the protocol and event, and believe these are important developments that will increase participation and inclusion within the America’s Cup going forward. We are also pleased to keep pushing the boundaries of innovation, technology, sustainability, participation, broadcast and the commercial aspects of the event. And so we think we have taken a good step forward in that respect.

“The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will continue to support Team New Zealand as they fulfil their role in the planning, funding and delivery of this AC37 campaign and event.”

Bertie Bicket, Chairman of Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd, had this to say:

“We are delighted with the result of this positive collaboration between the Defender and the Challenger of Record which has resulted in a truly progressive protocol for the 37th America’s Cup designed to promote fair competition and sustainability.

“Furthermore, we believe that the cost reduction measures and introduction of a women’s and youth event provide new and exciting opportunities within our sport.“

Key dates for 37th America’s Cup

2012

November 17: AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule V2 Published

December 1 2021: Entries for Challengers Open

2022

March 31: Defender to announce Match Venue and approximate event dates

June 17: New competitors may sail Version 1 AC75’s for 20 sailing days

31 July: Entry Period Closes

September 17: Competitors may sail an AC75 Yacht

November 30: ACE to announce race schedule for the Match

November 30: ACE to announce racing area for CSS and Match.

December 31: ACE to publish Brand Manual.

2023

May 31 : Final cut off for late Challenger entries.

June 30: ACE to publish Youth and Women’s AC Agreement

June 30: COR/D to publish Match Conditions.

November 30: COR/D to publish CSS Conditions.

Nathan Outteridge to return to the America’s Cup after signing with Emirates Team New Zealand

Signing part of 'Emirates Team New Zealand’s approach to continually get stronger' says COO Kevin Shoebridge

America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand have confirmed that Australian Olympic gold and silver medallist Nathan Outteridge has signed with the team to help bolster their Defence attempt during AC37, expected to be in 2024 at a yet to be decided venue.

Outteridge – who lives in Auckland with his wife and young child – won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the 49er class alongside crewmate Iain Jensen.

Taking the silver medal back then was the Kiwi duo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. The Kiwis who went on to turn the tables on the Outteridge and Jensen at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil before.

Outteridge skippered the Swedish entry Artemis Racing in the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco and at the 35th edition in Bermuda, when Burling and Tuke spearheaded an Emirates Team New Zealand victory.

With Artemis choosing not to mount a challenge for the 36th America’s Cup Outteridge was snapped up by the organisers as an expert TV pundit and commentator for the regatta which saw a Burling and Tuke Defend the Cup with ETNZ.

Outteridge excelled in his new media role but most people – including him – would have preferred he was behind the wheel of one of the revolutionary new AC75 foiling monohulls doing battle daily out on the Hauraki Gulf.

The Australian sailor was also integral in the creation of Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts’ SailGP global sailing league.

As well as helping to hone the technical aspects of the F50 foiling catamarans which were adapted from the AC50s previously used in the 35th America’s Cup, for the opening two seasons he has skippered the highly successful Japanese team on the high-performance international circuit.

Outteridge’s move to the New Zealand Defender is huge America’s Cup news – both for the team and the individual sailor. It ends months of speculation as to which team would have the gravitational pull to land one of the very brightest stars in the America’s Cup firmament.

It is a major a coup – even for a team with the pedigree of Emirates Team New Zealand.

As well as securing Outteridge’s skills and smarts solely for themselves, they have also prevented having him boost the potential of any of their British, American, Italian, and possibly Swiss rivals – all which must surely have had meaningful conversations with the young Aussie over recent months.

“Obviously we are pleased to have secured Nathan to join the sailing team for the 37th America’s Cup,” was the typically understated official comment from the Kiwi syndicate’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Shoebridge.

Outteridge’s commitment to the America’s Cup holders comes at a time when media speculation is rife as to whether Burling and Tuke will ultimately race the next Cup in ETNZ uniforms. The pair are reportedly yet to resign contracts with the team and have cited concerns over the possibility of AC37 being hosted in Saudi Arabia.

Whether bringing in Outteridge is a deliberate negotiation tactic or a safe and sensible strategical long-term play from Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton, is utterly impossible to say from the outside the room. Either way, it clearly swings the balance of power back towards the team while appearing to weaken the position of the two young Kiwi sailors.

Is it so hard though to imagine a third way where Burling and Outteridge race together as part of a dual helmsman setup aboard the next Kiwi AC75?

It’s even easier to imagine the fireworks that would ensue if the team set the two helmsmen against each in a match racing series to decide who would helm at the 37th America’s Cup. Selling the TV rights to that one could be easier than for the America’s Cup itself.

The experienced and implacable Shoebridge maintained a poker face through the rest of his statement, giving absolutely nothing away regarding how Outteridge might be deployed within the team.

“Emirates Team New Zealand’s approach is to continually get stronger, so with him [Outteridge] joining the likes of Pete, Blair, Glenn [Ashby], Josh [Junior], Andy [Maloney], etc you cannot have too much talent and he will compliment this group well.

“His experience and knowledge in high performance foiling boats can only benefit Emirates Team New Zealand and AC37 campaign and we are looking forward to him joining the rest of the team,” Shoebridge concluded.

Whatever his role turns out to be, a bright future surely lies ahead for Nathan Outteridge with Emirates Team New Zealand. It’s good news for all America’s Cup fans and very well deserved.

Congratulations Nathan – it’s good to have you back in the Cup.

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