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America's Cup: Key details to be released at Overture in Cowes

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 30 Aug 2018 16:20 PDT 31 August 2018
Luna Rossa Challenge Patron, Patrizio Bertelli, who is also CEO of the Prada Group, sponsor of the 36th America's Cup and Prada Cup challenger selection series adjusts his plaque in the America's Cup Hall of Fame © America's Cup Hall of Fame

Some additional key detail on the 36th America's Cup will be released tonight (NZT) at an America's Cup Overture function hosted by Prada at the Royal Yacht Squadron Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The 60 minute function marks the official start of the 36th America's Cup by the Challenger teams, and is expected to see the start of official websites and other fan content.

SailingIllustrated.com's Tom Ehman is in Cowes for the functions - catch his first report by clicking here

The logo for the 36th America's Cup Regatta will be announced.

The date of the Match will also be announced. Currently the Protocol only specifies that it would be held in March 2021.

The expectation is that it will start on March 6, 2021, being the first weekend in March. The 2000 Match in Auckland got underway on February 20, 2000, and in 2003 the first race was on February 15, 2003.

The key point of interest will be the location of the racing, initially promised to be held off Takapuna Beach offering a magnificent natural amphitheatre, but fraught by the location of undersea cables which have the effect of ruining a prime location for yacht racing, due to the regulations around the prohibition on anchoring marks and race committee vessels.

The alternative area is expected to be the Old America's Cup course further out into the Hauraki Gulf. While visible from the shore, the previous location is really only visible from a spectator boat or on television - which will be replayed on large screens in the America's Cup Village.

The planning process for the 36th America's Cup is due for a formal Hearing in the Environment Court in September.

A media blackout has been put in place with the mutual agreement of the parties, to avoid the media salvoes that occurred in the nine months after winning of the America's Cup and to allow the parties to progress discussions and points of view to proceed. It is understood that there has been a good level of co-operation and agreement, and that the Environment Court Hearing could be reduced in duration.

A key point from those Hearings is whether there will be any reduction in the published plans due to the less than expected seven or eight teams. Also the Hearing may determine the long term fate of the Wynyard Point area to be used for bases, if the America's Cup is not successfully defended at some stage in the next 15-20 years.

In the previous Hosting some of the area reserved for bases was taken over by developers in 2000 - who had been sold the land prior to the Viaduct Harbour development getting underway in 1996. The developers eventually took over the whole area after 2003.

Launch of the new Luna Rossa AC72 wingsailed catamaran on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, in Auckland, New Zealand, Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli - photo © Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa <a target=www.lunarossachallenge.com" />
Launch of the new Luna Rossa AC72 wingsailed catamaran on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, in Auckland, New Zealand, Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli - photo © Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa www.lunarossachallenge.com

The proposed base area for what are known as Bases C-G, is on land owned by Auckland Council, without any private ownership, and is currently a fuel and hazardous substances storage area. Early exits from the leases for several locations on the southern end of Wynyard Point have been negotiated by Panuku Developments (the Auckland Council development arm) to allow the environmentally stained area to be leveled and rectified to permit the construction of temporary base buildings.

Base A is the Viaduct Events Centre - currently owned by Regional Facilities Auckland - and to be taken over by Emirates Team New Zealand in October 2018 - immediately after the Auckland On the Water Boat Show. Base B is on Hobson Wharf on a new 75 metre extension and which is proposed to be the base for Challenger of Record Luna Rossa (Circolo della Vella Sicilia).

Technically the announcement at 1.00pm local time in Cowes on August 31, 2018 is a breech of the Protocol - which required the Match dates and location to be announced on August 30, 2018 (NZT) and tonight's announcement will miss that deadline by about 36 hours. Only the teams entered can take action under the Protocol and that is not going to happen on this issue.

The America's Cup Overture will be followed later in the evening by the induction of four new members of the America's Cup Hall of Fame: John Marshall (USA), Doug Peterson (USA), Syd Fischer (AUS) and Ken McAlpine (AUS).

The Induction into the America's Cup Hall of Fame will be held at a black tie dinner hosted at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes.

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