Team NZ likely to defend America’s Cup in 2021
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Team New Zealand has indicated it will likely host the next America’s Cup regatta and challenger selection series in Auckland in early 2021.
In a statement Wednesday, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Italy’s Circolo della Vela Sicilia — representing team New Zealand and challenger of record Luna Rossa — said the protocol governing the 36th America’s Cup regatta will be issued in September.
The statement said “the proposed dates for the event will be further detailed in the protocol but the defender and the challenger of record are considering the possibility of the 36th America’s Cup match and the preceding challenger selection series being conducted in Auckland in early 2021, during the New Zealand summer.”
Team New Zealand has also indicated that nationality rules will likely be reinstated.
“In recognition of the fundamental condition of the deed of gift that the Cup be preserved as a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between foreign countries, the protocol will contain a “constructed in country” requirement for competing yachts and a nationality requirement for competing crew members.”
For most of the history of the America’s Cup — the oldest trophy in sports which was first contested in 1856 — competing teams were required to build yachts in their own country. Team USA changed that rule to require that a minimum of only a small portion of the bow of each yacht be built in the nation of origin.
Nationality rules were also relaxed to allow multi-national crews but Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa appear to be working toward changes.
Team New Zealand’s statement contains no reference to the type of yachts that will be used in the next regatta, leaving that as another factor that will be clarified with the release of the protocol.
Team USA conducted both of its defenses in high-tech foiling catamarans but Luna Rossa is thought to favor a return to larger mono-hulls.
Team New Zealand beat Team USA in the 35th America’s Cup match last month to win the right to defend the trophy for the third time. It first won the Cup in 1995 and defended it in 2000 before losing it to Switzerland’s Alinghi in 2003.