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Prada Cup: Race Conditions published for America's Cup Challenger Selection Series

by Richard Gladwell, 17 Jul 22:53 PDT 18 July 2020
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli training off Sardinia © Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

The race conditions of the Prada Cup, the Challengers Selection Series to be held in January and February 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand, have been published.

Italian luxury fashion house Prada is the naming rights sponsor of the Challenger Selection Series for the 36th America's Cup and is the presenting sponsor for the 36th Match.

The winner of the Prada Cup will challenge the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand the America's Cup Match starting on March 6, 2021.

The Prada Cup will consist of four Round Robins of three races each, a seven-race Semi-Final and a 13-race Final between the two leading teams.

Each win scores one point. The Challenger with the highest score at the end of the Round Robins will automatically progress straight through to the Prada Cup Final.

The remaining two teams will race again in the Semi-Final and the first to win four races will qualify for the Final.

The first team to score seven points in the Final will win the Prada Cup and will become the official Challenger in the 36th Match for the America's Cup presented by Prada.

Download the Race Conditions click here

With just three Challengers the Semi-Final will become a repechage event - contested between the two lowest placed teams in the Round Robin, with the winner going through to the Final

Progress through the event is on the basis of points earned rather than races won - allowing the Arbitration Panel to deduct points/impose a points penalty in the case of a serious rules transgression, as happened in the 2013 America's Cup.

The majority of the Conditions are taken up with rules governing the declaration of a yacht's measurement configuration, which must be done before any round of the series gets underway.

The declaration process is a response to the boat-moding that occurred at the 2017 America's Cup and Challenger Selection Series, where competitors took a weather forecast the evening before the race, made a decision on the optimum configuration for the day particularly around daggerboards, and then required the boat to be certified by an official measurer before racing.

The process adopted for the Prada Cup and America's Cup means that boats will have to declare a configuration prior to the series, and stay in that mode for the duration of that event.

Replacement parts are allowed but must also be declared prior to the start of the series, and must also submit a "scheduled order of replacement components".

The purpose of the rule is to remove the opportunity for a competitor to "accidentally" break/damage a component, and then substitute it with one that would be best for the weather conditions that prevail for the rest of the regatta.

While the competitors are free to declare on the basis of a long term forecast, they take a risk if they declare say a set of wings and flaps orientated towards the lighter end of the scale, and strike winds that are stronger than forecast.

The rule is orientated around competitors developing a set of AP (All Purpose) foils, which are as versatile, across all conditions, as possible.

The declared configuration includes the hull, foils, rudder and mast tube along with their subcomponents - as well as an ID, a version number and IGES Checksum for each component. There are no restrictions on sail numbers that can be used other than the total quantity permitted in the class rule (10 mainsails, and 29 headsails).

The Round Robin declaration must be made on January 13, with racing starting on January 15. A second declaration can be made mid way through the Round Robins on January 13 ie after the conclusion of RR2 and before the start of RR3. The semi-final declaration must be made on January 27 with racing starting on January 29. For the finals a declaration must be made on February 8, with racing starting on February 13, and no opportunity for a mid-series rethink in the best of 13 race series.

Racing in the America's Cup begins on March 6, 2021.

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