A busy morning as Ineos Team UK confirmed what was widely rumoured and is officially the Challenger of Record having signed papers onboard Matteo de Nora’s Imagine II yacht as the final race of the America’s Cup Match finished.

Hurrah. Lots to unpick but here are the statements in full from both teams:

Emirates Team New Zealand is pleased to confirm that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has accepted a Notice of Challenge for the 37th America’s Cup (AC37) from the Royal Yacht Squadron Racing, represented by INEOS TEAM UK, which will act as the Challenger of Record for AC37. 

“The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have received and accepted a challenge for the 37th America’s Cup from our long-standing British friends at Royal Yacht Squadron Racing.” Said Aaron Young – RNZYS Commodore. “It is great to once again have the RYSR involved, given they were the first yacht club that presented this trophy over 170 years ago, which really started the legacy of the America’s Cup.  Along with Emirates Team New Zealand, we look forward to working through the details of the next event with them. “ 

A Protocol Governing AC37 will be published within eight months including the provisions outlined in this release. 

  • It has been agreed the AC75 Class shall remain the class of yacht for the next two America’s Cup cycles, and agreement to this is a condition of entry. 
  • The teams will be restricted to building only one new AC75 for the next event. 
  • A single Event Authority will be appointed to be responsible for the conduct of all racing and the management of commercial activities relating to AC37. 
  • The Defender and the Challenger of Record, will be investigating and agreeing a meaningful package of campaign cost reduction measures including measures to attract a higher number of Challengers and to assist with the establishment of new teams. 
  • A new Crew Nationality Rule will require 100% of the race crew for each competitor to either be a passport holder of the country the team’s yacht club as at 19 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 two of the previous three years prior to 18 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”. 
  • There are a number of different options but it is intended that the Venue for the Match will be determined within six months and the dates of racing announced in the Protocol, if not before.  

“The 37th America’s Cup effectively starts the moment the team crossed the finish line on Wednesday afternoon,” said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton.

“It is very exciting to have a new Challenger of Record to continue to build the scale of the America’s Cup globally. The AC75’s and the unprecedented broadcast reach of the exciting racing from Auckland’s stunning Waitemata harbour have really put Auckland and the America’s Cup at the forefront of international sport.”

INEOS TEAM UK and Royal Yacht Squadron Racing are pleased to confirm that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, on behalf of the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, accepted their Notice of Challenge for the 37th America’s Cup (AC37) and have become the Challenger of Record for AC37.

The Challenge letter was signed on 17th March 2021 onboard the yacht IMAGINE, by Bertie Bicket, Chairman of Royal Yacht Squadron Racing and accepted by Aaron Young, Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club as Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line to win the America’s Cup for the fourth time.

In addition, INEOS have confirmed they will continue to back Sir Ben Ainslie’s team to win sport’s oldest international trophy, giving much needed continuity, the cornerstone of every successful America’s Cup team. It will be the first time a British team has competed in three consecutive Cup cycles since Sir Thomas Lipton and the Royal Ulster YC bids between 1899 to 1930.

INEOS TEAM UK Skipper and Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie said: “INEOS TEAM UK are committed to working alongside Emirates Team New Zealand and our respective yacht clubs to continue the development of this historic event. The introduction of the AC75 class of yacht has proven to be a transformative moment in the history of the America’s Cup and will be the bedrock of a really bright future.”

The America’s Cup, the pinnacle of yachting, was first contested in 1851 in Cowes, Isle of Wight and organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years. The last British Challenger of Record to compete in an America’s Cup was the 12 metre, Sovereign in 1964.

Bertie Bicket, Chairman of Royal Yacht Squadron Racing, who has been in Auckland, New Zealand for the duration of the 36th America’s Cup said: “We are delighted to be embarking on our third successive America’s Cup challenge with Sir Ben Ainslie and INEOS, as the Challenging Yacht Club for the 37th America’s Cup. We look forward to working with all parties and will strive to continue the tradition and history of this great sporting event.”

9 thoughts on “Official

  1. Great stuff. Interesting points in there. Nationality rules .. will they protect ETNZ from poaching billionaires? Jimmy gets to stay with Italy though as a Jimmy clause allowed one to stay in a team. An emerging nation exemption looks like it is there for Chinese backers of ETNZ.

    I hope this circus goes on the road. But don’t put the cup on the line anywhere but NZ, please. The cup should be defended at home. As lovely as Bermuda was, it’s not San Francisco.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I hope they get to defend at home (after an international World Series), seeing how happy all of those people in Auckland looked, it would be a shame not to let them enjoy it again.

      The “emerging” category reminds me of SailGP’s “standard” and “development” teams where a quota of non-local crew are allowed for certain teams with the intention being that in future seasons as local talent is trained, that number will be reduced. I’m not really a fan of nationality rules in general (what I loved about the VOR was that nationality hardly entered into it at all and we just got to watch people from all over the world come together as friends and crewmates for nine months), but that does seem like a fair balance for teams without much high-level local talent.

      Of course, if they’re drawing inspiration from there, then perhaps the final protocol could also include SGPx-esque female participation rules…


  2. For me, the stand out in the admirable and sensible list of agreed principles is the single authority provision for organising and running it. Please someone correct me if I am wrong but what I read into that is the creation of a near independent body or perhaps a much more objective representative body for all involved, that will run like the FIA in motorsport or the Olympic Committee in terms of being seen as the single point of reference.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe that the nationality rules is a clumsy and unelegant move to kick Bertarelli out of the game, but this is America’s Cup… I remember when the Australians were complaining with the Americans that forced the teams to outsource everything in their country, this when the US were the only source of the technology needed to compete. The Australians said that in case of win, they were going to impose sails made of kangaroo skin… They won but never maintained their promise. Bertarelli always sailed his boats, in case he will decide to follow his yacht from the chase boat, he could “buy” a kiwi yacht club, then go shopping..


      1. Bertarelli, I am sure it is hard to set up an AC team only with swiss sailors. I believe that he could also set up a great team with Australian guys. In the AC36 all teams had at least a foreign sailor in the team.


      2. Good point. Thank you for clarifying. He does have a pretty good Swiss team though, blasting around Lake Geneva but crucially doesn’t have a good enough afterguard.


    1. I think Alinghi’s last Extreme Sailing Series roster was ~80% Swiss and there are younger guys they could recruit from the Swiss Youth AC team, which did pretty well. They might not be the most experienced team, but I think he absolutely *could* put together an all-Swiss team—- in part because Alinghi’s own successes over the past two decades have grown the talent base in their country.


      1. And hey, so what if he has to build a cup team over decades like everyone else instead of just buying one? Boo hoo.


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