A vision for the future of the America’s Cup has been agreed by current competitors that would see long-sought stability and continuity in the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport.
During a press conference at The House of Garrard in London, United Kingdom where the America’s Cup trophy was originally crafted in 1848, skippers and team leaders revealed a framework agreement that would cover the next two editions, the 36th and 37th America’s Cup, due to take place in 2019 and 2021 respectively. Racing in the 35th America’s Cup will take place in Bermuda in May/June of this year and the 36th America's Cup cycle will commence thereafter.
The framework agreement provides stability and gives interested teams an opportunity to plan longer term. It establishes a modern sporting, technology and design challenge, within which costs are controlled to provide a much lower entry price, which will encourage more teams to be involved and ultimately create larger audiences and help incentivize more people to go sailing.
As is required, the framework agreement respects and upholds all aspects of the Deed of Gift, the document that lies at the heart of the America’s Cup.
The Deed of Gift is the foundational document governing the America’s Cup. One of the unique aspects of the competition is that after winning the racing on the water, the victorious yacht club and its team then become the trustees of the event, responsible for outlining the terms of the next edition.
Historically, this has seen a crescendo of interest in the America’s Cup as the final races take place, followed by an extended period of down-time during which the new Defender re-defines the equipment and format of the next event, and builds a business structure to manage the next edition of a major, globalized, international competition, all while maintaining its core focus on winning as a sports team. This has resulted in teams being disbanded and costly equipment being made redundant and discarded.
Sir Ben Ainslie, Team Principal and Skipper of Land Rover BAR commented, “This framework agreement is really pivotal to the future of the America’s Cup. The cup has an incredible history over more than 165 years, but now the teams and the America’s Cup Event Authority can actually start planning for the future.”
The framework agreement and agreed future protocol binds the signatories to deliver the 36th America's Cup (AC36) and the 37th America's Cup (AC37) under the following terms:
- The America’s Cup will be on a two-yearly cycle for AC36 (2019) and AC37 (2021).
- The America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will start, at the election of the defender, as soon as Q4 2017. Venues, sponsors and media partners will be approached over the next six months to secure up to 12 international events over the next two years.
- The first year of the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will be raced in AC45F foiling catamarans – the same boats used in America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) in the 35th America's Cup.
- The second year will see a transition to the America’s Cup Class (ACC) boats, the same technically sophisticated class of boats raced in Bermuda in 2017 (with a slight rule modification to extend the wind range in which they can race to 4 to 26 knots). After this transition to the America’s Cup Class (ACC), the AC45Fs will be retired from the America’s Cup competition and the ACC boats will be the only boats raced.
- The America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will culminate with a final event at the venue for the next America’s Cup and the final standings from the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) will be used to qualify teams for the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs.
- The America’s Cup Challenger Finals and America’s Cup Match will be held in 2019 in a venue selected by the winner of the 35th America’s Cup.
- To reduce costs, teams will not be permitted to build, test or train on AC45 surrogate boats as they have in this cycle of the America’s Cup.
- This above will repeat for AC37, with the exception that all racing will take place in America’s Cup Class (ACC) boats.
Five of the six current competitors and their respective yacht clubs have already signed this framework agreement: ORACLE TEAM USA, Artemis Racing, Team France, Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan.
In addition, several prospective new America’s Cup teams have been briefed on the framework agreement and have expressed significant interest in becoming challengers for AC36 and AC37.
“Emirates Team New Zealand is not here today, but they have been kept updated on all developments throughout the creation of the framework agreement,” Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of Land Rover BAR, said. “We remain optimistic that they will come on board in the future and it is clear that cooperation is better for all of the stakeholders in the America’s Cup.
“The target cost to field a competitive new team is in the US$30-40 million range, a significant reduction from current team budgets.”