The New Zealanders, who won the Auld Mug from ORACLE Team USA in Bermuda last June, get to set the rules of the next regatta, which they announced will take place in March 2021.
The rule book, known as the protocol, was released on Friday 29th September and confirms the previous announcement that the race will be contested on high-performance monohulls, rather than the wing-powered catamarans used in the past two editions.
There is, however, still uncertainty about New Zealand being the host country. According to Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton, it is very much the intent to host the upcoming edition in Auckland, but the infrastructure needs to be built and the construction needs to start by mid-2018.
He said: ‘The only reason we went to the America’s Cup was to bring it back here… We’re really clear about that – this is where we want to hold it, but we’ve got nothing in place yet.’
If the racing does take place in Auckland, it will be off the coast of North Shore suburbs Takpuna or Milford. But, if for whatever reason the cup match cannot be held in New Zealand, Italy was revealed as the back-up destination. Confirmation of the location will be made by 31st August 2018.
Nationality criteria has also been tightened. Under the new rules, at least three of the 10 to 12 man crew must be citizens of the country the team represents and the rest must meet strict residency criteria.
Plus, New Zealand won’t place themselves in the challenger series, where teams vie for the right to race the defenders in the final. Rather the Kiwis will wait to enter the competition in the actual America’s Cup match.
Other news includes the confirmation of Italian fashion house Prada as the sponsor of the challenger series and the lengthening of race times. In the last edition, races were around the 20 minute mark but now they will be closer to 30 minutes.
According to Team New Zealand, former holders Team USA had steered the 166-year-old event too far from its traditional roots and priced the event beyond the reach of several challengers.
To counteract this, the new protocol also contains a section dedicated to keeping expenses down and, overall, aims to restore dignity and tradition to sport’s oldest international contest.
If the event is held in Auckland, there is expected to be an increased interest in cruising and chartering in New Zealand waters. Boasting a spectacular coastline peppered with islands, bays, fjords and protected harbours, the country opens up unparalleled opportunities for superyacht vacations.
The new protocol also contains a section dedicated to keeping expenses down and, overall, aims to restore dignity and tradition to sport’s oldest international contest
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