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America's Cup - New Protocol good for marine firms but not Pro Sailors

by Richard Gladwell, on 29 Sep 2017
Hull lamination - must take place in the country of origin of the challenging/defending club. Southern Spars
The Constructed in Country provisions of the Protocol open up the opportunities for marine industries and manufacturers, despite a tougher line than the previous Protocol.

For the 36th America's Cup, only the hull of the AC75 will have to be laminated in the country of the challenging or defending club.

The Article 9 in the newly announced Protocol while tighter than its predecessor which only required a 2.7metre long section of the hull to be laminated in the country of origin. Now the full hull or canoe body must be built.

However, that would appear to be where it ends, with spars, sails, keels and appendages and all other components able to be sourced internationally. It would also seem that the boat could be assembled in New Zealand, or Italy if the Cup moves there.

Repairs or alterations to the laminated hull are also permitted to take place in the country of the Defence.

The reasonably liberal rule would seem to allay concerns of many in the New Zealand marine industry who were heavily involved in the AC50 build program in the 35th America's Cup, and were concerned that with a tighter constructed in country rule could have been adopted, which required all components to be built in the country of origin and the boat assembled there as well.

100% Nationality rule
The situation is not so rosy for professional sailors who will have to comply with a much tighter nationality rule.

The minimal requirement in the 35th America's Cup for just one of the sailing crew to hold a passport of the country of the club their team represented.

Under the new Protocol, to be able to sail for a team, a sailor will have to be a national of that country - eligible under one of two systems.

A minimum of three of the sailing crew must be a national of the country of the team the term 'national' is not defined in the Protocol, but presumably, means holding a passport or citizenship of the country they represent.

The balance of the sailing crew must have been resident in the country of the team they wish to represent for a period of 380 days in the two years leading to the start of the America's Cup Regatta, which if the event is held in Auckland, means the regatta will get underway on December 1, 2020.

The 380-day rule is a throwback to the 2003 Protocol used in Auckland which required crew to be domiciled in the country of their team. Meaning that for the New Zealanders sailing for Swiss-based challenger, Alinghi, they had to maintain apartments in Switzerland, and came down to New Zealand in the southern hemisphere summer.

Ironically the 380-day rule does work reasonably well for members of existing America's Cup teams.

For Emirates Team New Zealand, skipper Glenn Ashby would be caught under the 380-day rule, but would only have to make some minor changes to comply.

The rule also works for members of former holder Oracle Team USA, many of whom hail from Australia, but who have lived in USA or Bermuda for substantial periods of time, and in reality have the option of three countries under which they could compete with some adjustment in their living arrangements. If team principal Larry Ellison challenged again, he could do that via a USA, Bermudian or Australian yacht club and would be able to retain the core of the Oracle Team USA sailing team.

The nationality rules apply only to the sailing crew, and there is complete freedom on the country of origin of non-sailing crew and designers etc.

Naiad 660x82px_SuperyachtRaymarine AUS 2018 Aug - Axiom - FooterNCYC Sailfest 2019 - Footer

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