NEWPORT, RI (#1165) – Amid the splendor of the America’s Cup past, the current stakeholders came together here for a promotional update on the current state of the Auld Mug. Some 250 syndicate officials, VIP guests and media gathered for drinks and dinner hosted by Prada, the AC36 presenting sponsor, at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court on Friday to “present the next phases of the America’s Cup and the news, technological and design aspects of the series.”
Cup notables present included Ted Turner, Bill Koch, John Marshall, NYYC Past Commodore David Elwell (who won the Cup on INTREPID in 1967), NYYC Past Commodore Dyer Jones (recently announced as an AC Hall of Fame inductee), Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team Principal Patrizio Bertelli, Challenger of Record CEO Laurent Esquier, long-time AC impresario Bruno Trouble, NYYC American Magic team principals Hap Fauth, Doug DeVos, and NYYC Past Commodore Phil Lotz, and long-time Cup commentator, journalist and author Bob Fisher.
Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) the leader of INEOS Team UK, didn’t turn up. Nor did Jimmy Spithill (AUS) or Max Sirena (ITA) of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, or Grant Dalton (NZL) of the defender Emirates Team New Zealand. The co-founders of Long Beach Yacht Club's Stars///Stripes Team USA, Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield, were there, even though most observers think they stand little chance of raising enough money to resume their boat build, let alone make it to the starting line in the short time remaining.
The only real news was that the first America’s Cup World Series of the 36th America’s Cup cycle will be held at Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli's home base in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy from April 23-26, 2020. It was pushed back from October, 2019 because of delays in finishing the complex foiling 75-foot monohulls.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team base in Cagliari, Sardinia, ITA, venue for the first, and perhaps only ACWS regatta for the 2021 Cup cycle, to be held April 23-26, 2020. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi.
What wasn’t announced, but is widely known, is that there have been further delays with the foil arms for the AC75s, the first of which are due to start rolling out of boat sheds next month – at least in the case of the three "super challengers" NYYC's American Magic, the Royal Yacht Squadron's INEOS Team UK, and the Circolo della Vela Sicilia's Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.
"We were supposed to pick them [the foil arms] up two days ago but they weren't ready," said Terry Hutchinson, the skipper and executive director of American Magic, the New York Yacht Club entry. "We canceled the trip."
No other ACWS stops were announced. While sailing promoters in Newport want to host an ACWS, it is believed that the only other port to get one will be Auckland, where the 36th America’s Cup will be contested in 2021, following the Prada Cup to determine which challenger will face Emirates Team New Zealand.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Shoebridge (NZL) highlighted the importance of the ACWS event in Sardinia for all the teams.
“Like all regattas there will be teams that come away satisfied and those that don’t,” Shoebridge said. “The significant thing about this regatta is that it will give a very clear idea of where each of the teams are in their designs and preparations for the main events in 2021.
“However with only eight months between Sardinia and the start of the Prada Cup and 10 months until the America’s Cup Match, it gives very little time to make necessary changes or teams to make sure they are up to speed.”
Regatta officials announced
The Defender and Challenger of Record announced that the following had been appointed to administer the 2021 Prada Cup and America's Cup regattas:
John Craig (CAN) – Regatta Director
A hugely experienced and well-respected race management expert, Craig was principal race officer at the 34th America’s Cup and the associated challenger selection series and America’s Cup World Series regattas. He also oversaw the inception of World Sailing’s Sailing World Cup international regatta series and was race manager for US Sailing’s prestigious Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, as well as serving as race director for the Extreme Sailing Series and the Red Bull Foiling Generation series.
Richard Slater (AUS) – Chief Umpire
Slater is a World Sailing qualified international umpire and judge and was the chief umpire at the 35thAmerica’s Cup in Bermuda. He also is the vice chairman of the World Sailing racing rules committee, a member of the international umpires sub-committee and chairs or is a member of numerous World Sailing working parties. He also headed up the World Sailing working party which created the high-speed rules that are used by many classes of high-performance boats. As well as his race management experience, Slater has worked with several professional sailing teams as a rules advisor and in team management – including teams that have won the America’s Cup three times and the Volvo Ocean Race once. Slater also provides support to the Australian Sailing Team ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
AC75 CLASS RULE COMMITTEE
Stan Honey (USA)
One of the world’s best-known racing navigators, Honey’s achievements include winning the Volvo Ocean Race around the world and setting a Jules Verne record for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the planet – as well as contributing as a navigator for multiple other 24-hour-distance, transatlantic, transpacific and singlehanded records. Honey holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied science from Yale University and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford. He is a three-time Emmy Winner for technical innovation in Sports TV, and a member of both the US National Inventors and the Sports Broadcasting Halls of Fame. A prolific inventor, he holds 30 patents associated with navigation, tracking, and augmented reality graphics and led the development of the yellow ‘first-down line’ widely used now in the broadcast of American football. He is also responsible for the ESPN “K-Zone” baseball pitch tracking and highlighting system, as well as the Race/FX tracking and highlighting system used in NASCAR.
Carlos de Beltrán (ESP)
De Beltrán joined World Sailing as technical and offshore director in 2017 and has been involved with the last four editions of the America’s Cup. He has also served as chief measurer for the M32 and RC44 class associations and was the equipment inspector for three editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. He holds two master’s degrees – one in naval architecture and one in product design.
Hasso Hoffmeister (GER)
Hoffmeister has worked for Classification Society DNVGL (formerly Germanischer Lloyd) since graduating as a naval architect in 1993. He is an expert in the assessment of marine structures, yachts and rigs and has developed several standards and guidelines, amongst which are the GL Guidelines for Structural Design of Racing Yachts. His particular field of expertise is the evaluation of composite structures. While working with Germanischer Lloyd, Hoffmeister was also rig designer of United Internet Team Germany’s during the 32nd America’s Cup.
Shaun Ritson (AUS) - Coordinator
Ritson has been a consultant naval architect for the past 25 years. He is a World Sailing international measurer for the Moth Class and served on the Measurement Committee for the 31st, 32nd and 34thAmerica’s Cup editions. He was also a measurer for three Volvo Ocean Races, including serving as chief measurer for the 2011-12 edition.
Daniel Jowett (NZL)
An experienced navigator with many offshore racing miles to his name Jowett trained as a mechanical engineer specialising in yacht aerodynamics and has worked as an engineer at the Yacht Research unit and Twisted Flow wind tunnel in Auckland, as well as with Vspars. He has been involved in two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, working in race control during the 2013-14 edition and as the electronics team leader in 2017-18.
David McCollough (USA)
McCollough operates McCollough Yachts LLC, a yacht design and engineering firm in Newport, Rhode Island. He studied mechanical engineering at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and yacht design at The Landing School in Kennebunkport, Maine. McCollough Yachts has been responsible for several race-winning multihull sailboats as well as luxury cruising boats and has recently leveraged foiling knowledge gained from racing sailboats into innovative foil-assisted power catamarans. As a member of the team which wrote the class rule for the 34th America’s Cup, McCollough has an excellent understanding of the unique intricacies of this competition.
Sir Ben weighs in on the 2024 Olympics
Although Ainslie wasn’t in Newport, he was still making news. He told Richard Gladwell (NZL) of Sail-World.com that he’s disappointed to see the heavyweight Finn Class, dropped from the proposed slate for Paris 2024.
World Sailing has proposed to replace the Finn with a new mixed gender two-person offshore keelboat, an event which will hold its first world championship in 2020.
"I think it is a great shame. I'm obviously biased and a huge fan of the Finn. But to me, the bigger issue is, "What do guys over 85kg sail?" Ainslie said. "Right now, I can't see too many opportunities for them.
"There are a lot of boats out there for guys weighing 65, 75 and 80kgs," he says. "The Giles Scott's of this world - what are they supposed to do?" he asked, referring to the 2016 gold medalist in the Finn, who was his tactician in the 2017 America's Cup and will fill the same role in 2021 for INEOS Team UK.
Emcee Charlie Webster (GBR) interviewing team reps, seated right to left, Terry Hutchinson (USA, NYYC), Mike Buckley (USA, LBYC), Vasco Vascotto (ITA, CVS) and Kevin Shoebridge (NZL, RNZYS) at the AC36 gala hosted by Prada at New York Yacht Club's Harbour Court in Newport last Friday evening. Read the official AC36 release about the evening here. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi (ITA, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli).