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America's Cup: New York Yacht Club submits Challenge and evolutionary Draft Protocol

by New York Yacht Club 8 May 17:44 PDT 9 May 2021
New York Yacht Club American Magic's PATRIOT back out on the water © Sailing Energy / American Magic

On Thursday, May 6, the New York Yacht Club submitted to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, New Zealand, a challenge for the 37th America's Cup. The challenge was accompanied by a draft Protocol for the regatta, which would see the Cup Match take place in New Zealand during early 2024, utilizing the AC75 class.

"The America's Cup is at a pivotal point in its 170-year history," says Christopher J. Culver, Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. "The competition for the 36th edition was thrilling, and Emirates Team New Zealand, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, was a worthy winner. However, the New York Yacht Club, as the original trustee of the event and a participant in the most recent edition, has serious concerns about the future of this great competition. The cost of a competitive campaign, the lack of continuity in the class and the inability to plan beyond the current cycle have combined to create a prohibitive barrier to entry, which has manifested in the dwindling number of challengers and public interest. While we await further details on the location, timing and conditions for the 37th America's Cup, we want to emphatically signal our enthusiasm for a multi-challenger event in 2024.

"Our proposed Protocol for the 37th America's Cup is the product of months of work and countless conversations with America's Cup stakeholders, including current and former challengers and defenders," continues Culver. "It includes the tools necessary to improve the long-term commercial viability and global reach of the competition, while remaining true to the Deed of Gift and to the spirit of one of international sport's oldest competitions. Other established teams that have similar views on the future of the competition."

The draft Protocol (click here to view the full Protocol) put forward by the New York Yacht Club features several key concepts:

  1. A multi-event schedule—time and location—for the next four America's Cup regattas, which will enable teams, corporate partners and media to plan in advance, think beyond single campaigns and maximize revenue opportunities

  2. Enhanced and independent event management via the creation of an America's Cup Board of Governors, which will provide continuity and impartial oversight

  3. Consistency in design, starting with the confirmation of the AC75 as the class for the 37th America's Cup

  4. Stronger crew nationality rules to draw more interest and to promote friendly competition between foreign countries

  5. Cost-control measures; a predictable, and shorter, three-year cycle; consistency in platform; an increase in one-design components; and a limit of one new boat per Cup cycle, all of which will make the America's Cup more accessible and more sustainable
"By issuing this challenge, along with a Protocol, we are presenting a path forward for the event, one that will provide it with the tools to thrive in the modern international sports marketplace," says Culver.

The New York Yacht Club won the America's Cup in 1851, created the recurring event in 1870, and successfully defended the Cup 26 times. In 1983, the Cup was won by the Royal Perth Yacht Club. The New York Yacht Club remained active as a challenger in 1987, 2000 and 2003 before stepping away from the competition. With the creation of the American Magic syndicate, the Club returned to the America's Cup in 2021. The end result was not what the team or Club hoped for, but the inspired response of the membership to the campaign encouraged the Club's flag officers to consider another challenge.

"Our challenge is inclusive," says Culver. "I've have spoken with representatives of both the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Royal Yacht Squadron to assure them that New York Yacht Club is ready and willing to come to the table to help bridge gaps, foster a transparent discussion to adopt some or all of the key components of our draft Protocol and, ultimately, create the framework for a multi-challenger 37th America's Cup and a sustainable future for the event.

The challenge and protocol have been dismissed by ETNZ and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron click here to see later story and statement

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