SAN FRANCISCO (#1201) – ...the situation is fluid, to say the least. Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's representative team Emirates Team New Zealand have just issued a statement saying, "Due to today’s speculation the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand can confirm no Challenger has withdrawn from the 36th America’s Cup. The payment dates for entry fees are not time critical. The Arbitration Panel ruled that they are ineligible to race if entry fees remain unpaid but their validity as a challenger in the meantime is not affected. The teams just need to be up to date by the time of the first race of the America’s Cup World Series in 2020. Emirates Team New Zealand has been, and remains fully supportive of encouraging the new teams into the 36th America’s Cup joining the already very well established and strong group of existing Challengers."
As we long ago reported, it appears that the Altus Challenge representing the Royal Malta YC will likely withdraw if funds from their team principal, Pasquale Cataldi (ITA/MLT) are not forthcoming in the next few days; in the meantime one hears that Mr Cataldi is distracted by a death in the family and may have lost interest in pursuing the Auld Mug.
As we reported yesterday, DutchSail (NED) representing the Royal Netherlands YC Muiden, say they have arrived at a "moment of truth" but claim to have gained fund-raising "momentum in the past days." Time will tell.
Regardless, neither the Altus Challenge nor DutchSail have begun construction of an AC75 yacht, while by all accounts the other four Challengers, and the Defender, are well underway. That alone does not bode well for Altus or DutchSail given that time has all but run out for them to have such a complex, untested yacht built and race-ready before the first scheduled AC World Series event in Cagliari, ITA in twelve months' time.
As to Long Beach Yacht Club's Stars+Stripes Team USA and rumors Monday that they have paused construction of their AC75 yacht in Holland, Michigan, your Ed. is reliably informed that, indeed, that is the case. However, one hears that the Club and team are determined to carry on and, at least in the near term, have the resources to do so. It is expected that the team will make and announce some mid-course corrections in the coming days, and could well emerge stronger – financially and organizationally. Again, time will tell.
Regardless of whether ultimately there are three, four or more challengers, the challenger selection series for the Prada Cup is going to be a battle royale come January-February 2021.
Much more on Tuesday's TFE LIVE at 1300 Pacific / 1600 Eastern / 2000 UTC, as always on our Sailing Illustrated Facebook page.