US club’s ‘presumptuous’ challenge slammed by main players in America’s Cup

The New York Yacht Club has submitted a challenge for the 37th America’s Cup to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, New Zealand. It’s already been slammed as ‘presumptuous’ by the cup defenders.

The challenge was accompanied by a reportedly 150 page draft protocol for the regatta, which would see the cup match take place in New Zealand during early 2024, utilising the AC75 class.

Serious concerns about future

In an accompanying statement in which he expresses his wishes for a multi-challenger event in 2024, Christopher J. Culver, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, says his club 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.

“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,” says 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 have similar views on the future of the competition.”

The back of the queue

But, in a masterclass joint statement from the Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd and Ineos Team UK, the New York Yacht Club’s input was effectively shut-down this morning.

“As the Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup, we are working collaboratively with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and Team New Zealand to write the protocol that will define the rules moving forward,” says the statement.

“We are delighted to hear that the New York Yacht Club are interested in continuing participation in the America’s Cup and we will keep them informed as we move forward.”

Presumptuous statement

In a statement reported by the New Zealand Herald, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) says the New York Yacht Club is presumptuous in its intent, but that the American outfit raised some valid points in its proposal.

“RNZYS and Emirates Team New Zealand (as the current defender of the America’s Cup) welcome the New York Yacht Club’s interest in the next America’s Cup, but questions their motives for such a presumptuous statement when entries do not open for some time,” the statement says.

“There have been some valid points raised by NYYC, a number of which are already being considered in developing a progressive and forward-thinking protocol between the defender and Ineos Team UK and the RYS as (Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup) who are the two parties responsible for developing the next protocol.”

The New York Yacht Club proposal includes a multi-event schedule for the next four America’s Cup regattas across four different countries, confirmation of the AC75 boat, stronger crew nationality rules, cost-control measures and independent event management through the creation of an America’s Cup Board of Governors.

It lists New Zealand as the host of the next event in 2024, but would mean Auckland couldn’t stage the event again until 2035.

The New York Yacht Club claims established America’s Cup teams have ‘similar views on the future of the competition.’

Dean Barker speaks out

“I don’t see why they (TNZ) should come under pressure, to be forced to do anything,” Dean Barker, American Magic helmsman, told Newstalk ZB.

“I’m sure it won’t have any impact on what TNZ decide to do.

“What New York has done is try to keep things rolling along, put a bit of pressure back on, to see if they can force anything.

“To me it doesn’t seem right – if you are not in control – to try and set the rules.

“If I was reading between the lines, this is a way of pushing things along but I’m not sure what it is going to achieve,” says Barker.

The tools to thrive

“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.

“Our challenge is inclusive. I’ve 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 news is being hailed as ‘epic’ by rule69blog.

“What it’s saying to me is that others want to play in the next cycle and that there are backers ready to commit and provide the desperately needed challengers to make the event a success. That’s great news – epic news – and the fact that both the Kiwis and the Brits have rejected it so emphatically and vociferously leads me to think that either the one-on-one is set in stone or in fact, what’s being proposed here is pretty close to what they are working on.”

Draft protocol

The draft protocol (reports SailWorld) put forward by the New York Yacht Club features several key concepts:

  • 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 maximise revenue opportunities
  • Enhanced and independent event management via the creation of an America’s Cup Board of Governors, which will provide continuity and impartial oversight
  • Consistency in design, starting with the confirmation of the AC75 as the class for the 37th America’s Cup
  • Stronger crew nationality rules to draw more interest and to promote friendly competition between foreign countries
  • 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

Main image courtesy of Sailing Energy.

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