The Kiwi team is the only one of the six current competitors not to sign up to the framework and future protocols to deliver the next two America's Cup competitions
Emirates Team New Zealand was notably absent as the other five teams currently vying for the 35th America’s Cup signed up to the new framework and future protocols for the 2019 and 2021 competitions.
The framework agreement and agreed future protocol binds the signatories to deliver the 36th America’s Cup (AC36) and the 37th America’s Cup (AC37) under certain terms which will “see long-sought stability and continuity in the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport.”
The terms are as follows:
- The America’s Cup will be on a two-yearly cycle for AC36 (2019) and AC37 (2021);
- The America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will start, at the election of the defender, as soon as Q4 2017. Venues, sponsors and media partners will be approached over the next six months to secure up to 12 international events over the next two years;
- The first year of the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will be raced in AC45F foiling catamarans – the same boats used in America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) in the 35th America’s Cup;
- The second year will see a transition to the America’s Cup Class (ACC) boats, the same technically sophisticated class of boats raced in Bermuda in 2017 (with a slight rule modification to extend the wind range in which they can race to 4 to 26 knots). After this transition to the America’s Cup Class (ACC), the AC45Fs will be retired from the America’s Cup competition and the ACC boats will be the only boats raced;
- The America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will culminate with a final event at the venue for the next America’s Cup and the final standings from the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will be used to qualify teams for the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs;
- The America’s Cup Challenger Finals and America’s Cup Match will be held in 2019 in a venue selected by the winner of the 35th America’s Cup;
- To reduce costs, teams will not be permitted to build, test or train on AC45 surrogate boats as they have in this cycle of the America’s Cup;
- This above will repeat for AC37, with the exception that all racing will take place in America’s Cup Class (ACC) boats.
The five of the six current competitors and their respective yacht clubs which signed this framework agreement were: ORACLE TEAM USA, Artemis Racing, Groupama Team France, Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan.
In addition, several prospective new America’s Cup teams have been briefed on the framework agreement and have expressed significant interest in becoming challengers for AC36 and AC37.
“Emirates Team New Zealand is not here today, but they have been kept updated on all developments throughout the creation of the framework agreement,” explained the CEO of Land Rover BAR, Martin Whitmarsh at a press conference in London.
“We remain optimistic that they will come on board in the future and it is clear that cooperation is better for all of the stakeholders in the America’s Cup,” he continued.
“The target cost to field a competitive new team is in the US$30-40 million range, a significant reduction from current team budgets,” added Whitmarsh.
Emirates Team New Zealand came third in the America’s Cup World Series, which was won by Land Rover BAR.
They were the only team in the 2015-16 series which were not given at least one home event – a matter which has caused a dispute between the New Zealand team and the America’s Cup Event Authority.
Land Rover BAR, which hosted two world series events in Portsmouth, has previously announced that the 2016 racing event generated £6.6 million of Gross Value Added to the UK economy – the means by which goods and services measure their value to the economy.
Team principal and skipper of Land Rover BAR, Sir Ben Ainslie was present at the signing of the new framework agreement in London today.
Commenting, he said: “This framework agreement (for the 36th and 37th America’s Cup) is really pivotal to the future of the America’s Cup. The cup has an incredible history over more than 165 years, but now the teams and the America’s Cup Event Authority can actually start planning for the future.”
According to a press release from the America’s Cup, the framework agreement “respects and upholds all aspects of the Deed of Gift”, the document that lies at the heart of the America’s Cup.
The Deed of Gift is the foundational document governing the America’s Cup.
One of the unique aspects of the competition is that after winning the racing on the water, the victorious yacht club and its team then become the trustees of the event, responsible for outlining the terms of the next edition.
Historically, this has seen a crescendo of interest in the America’s Cup as the final races take place, followed by an extended period of down-time during which the new Defender re-defines the equipment and format of the next event, and builds a business structure to manage the next edition of a major, globalised, international competition, all while maintaining its core focus on winning as a sports team.
“This has resulted in teams being disbanded and costly equipment being made redundant and discarded,” said the America’s Cup press release.
Five-time America’s Cup winner and CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority, Sir Russell Coutts believes the new agreement is a “hugely significant moment for the America’s Cup”.
“For the first time in more than 165 years, the teams have got together for the benefit of not only themselves but for the America’s Cup,” he said.
His sentiment was echoed by the team founder of ORACLE TEAM USA, Larry Ellison who added: “People who want to enter this race now know how much it will cost, what kind of boat they need to build and that the rules can’t change on them. They are now able to plan ahead, build a boat, build a team and come out and compete for their country.”
Racing in the 35th America’s Cup will take place in Bermuda in May/June of this year.
The 36th America’s Cup cycle will commence thereafter.
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