America’s Cup update March 2021

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.’

37 thoughts on “America’s Cup update March 2021

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  1. With regard to the Times piece about the future of the America’s Cup, I have to say that I am not comfortable with a manipulation of the established norms by exercising superior financial might. That is not sportsmanlike to my mind….

  2. They talked in the post race press conference of being affected by their own wind shadow when they gybe into it.

    1. It was an interesting comment about sailing into your own wind shadow – hadn’t considered that – these boats are so fast, it’s a whole new thought process. The effect should diminish, or at least be less damaging in stronger winds – lets hope for some of that!

  3. The first six races of the final have shown how tactical these races are and until today the boats seemed evenly matched. The way that team NZ pulled away today in the 6th race seems to indicate that they have the pace in light airs. However the Prada team still point higher and at slow speeds stay foiling for longer. provided that NZ can avoid slow speed luff in matches they look to have a good chance.

    1. Clean air and the ability to sail your own race seems to favour the Kiwis. The Italians can stay foiling at slower speeds and point higher which should mean they can boss the starts but that 6th race start was a complete balls up for them, the NZ tactic of sailing faster off the wind paid off and we may see that in future. If you can power through any dirty air and come out the other side may be the starting formula for the Kiwis, let the Italians get in front and they are stuffed. It may all be different in stronger winds…. Fascinating !

      1. In that 6th race, the Italians planned to induce a slow luffing start which they would have won. NZ were having none of it (that and the Italians seemed to hit a hole in the wind) so I think the book of starting tactics will have been thrown overboard – it will all be different from now on!

  4. ?? Thanks for keeping this going Nick I think you have summed it all up for us. It’s only a yacht race and there’s always next time.

  5. Well, it’s over for the Brits and the agonising 170 year wait goes on. It must be accepted that the Italians had a faster yacht which pointed higher in the conditions experienced for the Prada Cup Final – oh, and they sailed her extremely well!
    It would be churlish to suggest that the situation might have been different if the breeze had been stronger as it is irrelevant, and Luna Rossa is best placed to challenge the NZ yacht for the America’s Cup. It is significant that the Italian challenge secured the position of ‘Challenger of Record’ (COR) immediately after NZ won the AC in Bermuda by being able to demonstrate that they had the funding and structure in place to mount a challenge. Hopefully with the continued involvement of INEOS, the Brits may be able to secure the COR position as it is enormously helpful in that it gives the COR involvement in the specification and a much earlier start on the design and development. It is rumoured that they have already ‘cut a deal’ with NZ should they retain the Cup.
    Much has been made of the involvement of Mercedes F1 in the British campaign. INEOS bought a 33% stake in Mercedes F1 but not until September 2020 and Britannia was built by then and launched in October 2020. Their involvement can only have been superficial, but it may have contributed to the enormous improvement over the Christmas period – who knows and what could their involvement yield if they started with a blank sheet of paper?
    So it’s on to the America’s Cup ‘proper’ starting on March the 6th and I will be just as captivated. I will sit as a fascinated neutral and I will maintain the ‘America’s Cup Updates’ page on this website encouraged by the amount of interest that has been shown. The site had 373 hits yesterday which helps to make the effort worthwhile – keep logging on and commenting!

  6. I’m sorry to say – it looks like the rather large lady is stood in the middle of the stage, has got her songbook out, has asked the band to lead her in and has asked the audience to be quiet and ……

  7. Sir Ben has not won many starts even in the round robin so good to see he can do it. Very little wind forecast for Sunday which will leave 5 races. unless they extend the series we will need all of them!

  8. I think the speed issues are to do with being trailing boat and getting dirty wind or being pushed away from the windier side of course. They need to nail the starts. Hopefully they will be able to practice in lockdown !!

    1. That’s just the pessimist in me. Britannia has never been in front and has always been playing ‘catch up’ in the dirty air. We can only assume their relative speed comparisons. Yes, they need to start better which has always been Ben Ainslie’s strength….

  9. So is that game over for Ineos ? Auckland has gone into lockdown so it will be interesting to see when racing re-commences.

    1. I am clinging to the memory of 2013 in San Francisco when Ben Ainslie was drafted into the Oracle Team when they were 8-1 down. They went on to win 8-9. What is worrying this time is that the Italian yacht seems faster, points higher and doesn’t seem to make mistakes. Unfortunately, I can hear the fat lady clearing her throat !!!

  10. The raw speed of the Italian yacht is ominous and they look slick.
    The British team need an inshore course with shifty winds – the organisers (and TV companies) will want it to go to the wire and this would promote closer racing with more lead changes.
    Game on……

  11. Looks like it is too close to call from the experts then ! Maybe it will be down to having the sailing equivalent of Dan Carter / Tom Brady sailing the Ineos boat that will make all the difference

  12. I think it’s wiped before the final. I saw an interview where Ben specifically said it lasted throughout the Prada Cup. He didn’t specifically say it ended there but I ‘assumed’ that he would have said to the end of the competition if it still hung over their heads in the Cup itself.

    Can’t see it would be ‘fair’ if NZ started with an advantage gained by an infringement in a series that they were not part of.

  13. As development continues (presumably) and with the Brits labouring under one ‘strike’ for technical violation, does anyone know if the slate is wiped clean at some stage through the campaign or does the prospect of a disqualification (one race as I understand it) linger to the very end?
    Brian, I expect you to know the answer !!

  14. Look guys I seem to be on a personal mission. I sent some more thoughts to Nick pointing out I was neither knowledgeable enough or qualified to lecture – he insists I post anyway so if it’s wrong , boring or both it’s his fault!

    I don’t know whether the vid boys were right that 50kts is the limit for conventional foils before cavitation is inevitable but they don’t sound far off hence a lot of thought must have gone into avoiding ventilation (air being sucked down the low pressure side). One of the problems with the ’sound barrier’ which was in essence caused by the air becoming de facto incompressible at that speed creating shock waves. In essence foils are wings in and incompressible medium so more akin to supersonic wings than gliders. You don’t get high aspect zero v supersonic jets. Ineos was faster army top speed than NZ before Christmas. If Ineos works I think there’s much more potential in her foils than NZs..

    Having said that I don’t even know of most of the complications let alone the answers. We have no idea how this will play out in practice but I’d confidently put Ineos as favourite against the Ities on past performance. NZ have evolved and we’ve no idea but both teams committed to a design philosophy years ago and once committed they couldn’t realistically change tack – you were only allowed to build 6 sets of foils so if you started on T foils and they didn’t work well it was difficult to start again with Y foils or vice versa. Even though we saw NZ as the firm boat in the pre christmas regatta the Y foil approach still sounds like the right philosophy to me and if the boats go on developing I’d expect that route to be followed but…….

  15. The other point they mention is the wider base being more stable “like being further out on the trapeze. This has been a dinghy sailor fallacious argument for years. A 13 stone crew at 6’ 6” will exert much more righting moment on a dinghy whilst trapezing that the same eight guy who is 5’ 6”. The tall guy can increase this effect by stretching his arms above his head. Obvious eh?

    Well competitive trapeze boat crews are normally tall and thin so it must be true. Basic physics tells me that the height of the crew has much less effect than you’d think – if the trapeze hook is roughly in the middle of the body mass it’s the leg length that matters so halving the advantage of height. Putting your arms above your head will make little difference.

    With the foil all the force goes up the central arm so the length of the foils on either side of the arm will make practically no difference especially in a T foil that is generating equal lift on either side of the central support. The central support of a seesaw supports the same mass if two equal weighted boys sit on it at either end or both halfway in from the seat to the centre.

  16. Foil Video

    I watched it with fascination and to me it discussed some of the more obscure issues without really shedding much light on the outcomes.

    Here’s what I think high aspect foils (long and thin) give a better lift drag ratio (before cavitation) than low aspect (short and fat). Picture a high performance glider very long thin wings. In an earlier video they discussed the box rule for foils in the AC and highlighted a “loophole” that may allow NZ to have one set of flap controls per arm than two saving weight. So the T foil on NZ should have less weight and higher lift for lower drag – all good.

    However lower aspect foils (wings or sails) are more versatile across a greater speed range generating much more lift and can sustain higher angles of attack hence straining glider has lower aspect wings more versatile, easier to fly and a lot less likely to stall. From tgat perspective Ineos should be more versatile and better in manoeuvres.

    That’s the easy bit – the next is shamelessly stolen from ‘Simon’ the speed sailing guru who built his first foiling cat when he was 15:-

    They talk a lot of rubbish. I’ve commented several times.

    With AC Most the mass is lead. The foils are ballasted.

    They don’t understand the different effect of Y and T foils. Because there is leeway the Y foils have an effective increased AoA on the outside section.

    I think the more swept back LE on Ineos foils is to help stop and remove ventilation.

    The high taper ratios keep area in the Center of the foil where it doesn’t get ventilate. (If you are unaware ventilation similar to cavitation is very bad).

  17. Pom in Australian was a derogatory term like bastard was. Recent generations of ockers use both terms in an affectionate way if not a grudgingly respectful way.
    As a fellow sailor and fellow competitor I expect he was being ruefully respectful. Certainly not being insulting.
    Language is a funny thang.

    1. I don’t really understand betting and odds but it seems to me, if I get it right, that the Italians aren’t being given the respect they probably deserve in these odds …..

  18. Lights are visual markers from umpires etc. I’m pretty certain they mark penalties and boundaries as a minimum but regret I’m not sure in what sequence as we get the info via the graphics – I’ve not really looked!

  19. Today’s stats

    Race 1 even start LR faintest boat speed edge got them the 1st cross and more or less forced USA to sail further with 2 extra tacks for a win of @ 35 seconds.

    Not conclusively a ‘boat speed’ win and not consistent with LR claim that they’ve had a measurable 10% speed gain since the round robins!

    Race 2 was a disaster lead was only just over 100m before the foil stopped after they lost the start. Not sure I’d be too complacent if I was in the ITA camp tonight having lost 4 – 0 to Ineos previously.

    Should be exciting!

  20. Let’s hope the two boats are well matched in speed on the 13th then we’ll see some real action at the start. Ben is master at this in Fins and Lasers but how far will he dare to push it at 40 KTS.
    Ref Payback from the Poms I think that’s just good-natured warm up between Jimmy and Ben, they go back a long way.
    Sorry Nick I can’t throw any more light on the lights haven’t even noticed a blue one but I think you’ve probably got it right.

  21. Can anyone confirm the significance of the light colours on the sternpost of the yachts? Is it still that green indicates when a boat is within 3 boat lengths of a course limit or a turning mark, red indicates a protest and blue indicates a penalty? I take it they are not for the viewers benefit as they have it all on their TV but for the crew who are generally quite busy….

  22. I have no doubt that the team coaches together with Ainslie and Scott have been working the team hard to improve performance and will continue throughout this campaign. I don’t get the impression that the ego’s in the British team are beyond acceptance of their own failings as was evident in the US team and which lead to their downfall. The fact that LR dissed the UK team in todays and earlier press conferences shows that they see them as a serious competitor.
    Its a shame that the US weren’t able to compete today but it is clear that LR are quick and the after guard are good. I am not convinced that having the main sheet trimmer stand at the back of the mainsail when he has nothing better to do is a match for having Scott as a permanent tactician though.
    As for being PC, its probably best that the “keep standing on his neck” came from an Aus and not a yank.

  23. The USA were not really a valid benchmark in the Semis. LR suggested they benefitted from the racing but not sure that is the case, more of a distraction. Seems no team is allowed to pit themselves against another team from here on in… Is the earlier Ineos yacht there and would they be allowed to use it to trial against?
    Sir Ben has said he would trade all his Olympic medals for the America’s Cup !!!

  24. Luna Rossa looked fast and very stable in the Semis. However they were never under any pressure. The USA had overcome massive hurdles just to get there and as far as we know had only rebuilt and was not improved. The winning margins were not huge, the boat speeds not dissimilar. And the biggest difference was the handling in maneuvers.

    I think we can conclude that LR has improved but not a quantum leap. I don’t think we can even guess whether ITA or GBR have the faster boat and won’t have a clue till they start racing.

    If the boats are similar in speed GBR wins. It will be fascinating. I will be surprised if many of the races are a walk over!

  25. In the Press Conference today, Jimmy Spithill referred to the British Team as ‘the Poms’. Is this an affectionate reference from an Australian or would this fall foul of the PC brigade ?

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