Joint statement from INEOS TEAM UK and Royal Yacht Squadron Racing
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 Squadron 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 sports 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.”
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 unprecedent 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.”
You can read a lot between these lines…. measures to deal with the Italian manipulation this time out – NZ were clearly very pissed off about that !!!! What goes around, comes around !
Here is a fascinating article from the Times the day after the conclusion which offers an interesting take on the machinations behind the scenes :-
‘The moment one Cup is out of the way, the focus immediately shifts to the next and the menu of options is intriguing from a British point of view.
The bottom line is that Team New Zealand (TNZ) is short of money and there are limits to how much more can be asked of the Kiwi taxpayer to fund their America’s Cup outfit.
For that reason Grant Dalton, the TNZ chief executive, has already invited offers from cities around the world to play host to a second defence of the Cup the team won in Bermuda in 2017.
But with Ineos Team UK replacing Luna Rossa as Challenger of Record and many potential host cities struggling in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fascinating idea of a one-off defence against Sir Ben Ainslie’s crew on the Solent has been mooted.
The Times understands this has been discussed by Dalton and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the Ineos co-founder and, from a British point of view, the positives are not hard to see.
It would return the event for the first time in 170 years to where it all started, when a perplexed Queen Victoria watched the British fleet lose to the schooner, America. It would meet with a massive out-pouring of enthusiasm from a sailing nation that has waited generations for the chance, and it could provide the platform for the remarkable spectacle of AC75s circumnavigating the Isle of Wight.
But opposition is already building to this ambitious proposal that may yet die before it gets off the ground. Dean Barker, the former TNZ skipper, has gone on the record in Auckland as saying it would be a travesty if TNZ — which originated in the late 1980s and has always been committed to bringing the Cup to New Zealand — chose to take it away to the Solent or anywhere else.
And there are dangers for Ainslie in these waters, after having been thumped by Luna Rossa in the Prada Cup final. He would find himself utterly exposed in a one-off match against the might of TNZ and being thrashed would be humiliating. With no challenger series to work through, Ineos Team UK would have to be on the money from the word go and Ainslie could not afford another misfire on boat design.
But there is something else too. British sailors have dreamt of the Cup “coming home” for more than a century, but always imagining that their heroes would have gone out and won it in some far-flung location and then brought it back in triumph to Cowes. That would certainly not be the case if Ineos Team UK is invited to be the sole challenger, in an event largely paid for by its own benefactor, and which would exclude other participants, not least the Italians who have already said they would like to go again.
Having said that, a match against TNZ on home waters would offer a British team its best ever chance of winning the Auld Mug. The Solent is a complex stretch of tidal water that British sailors know better than anyone else. In addition, a second series in AC75s should give Ainslie’s design team a better chance to get on terms with the best that their counterparts in TNZ can throw at them.
It’s early days, but the Cup game is now part of the fabric of British sport for a few years thanks to Ratcliffe’s largesse. That is going to be the case whether the racing takes place in the 37th Cup match off Cowes — or perhaps in the Solent merely in exhibition format — or somewhere else entirely.’