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Emirates Team New Zealand will have until the end of March next year to set the location for the 37th America's Cup, with the new deadline revealed in the Protocol for the event.
It comes after the initial date for selecting a host passed in mid-September, with Team New Zealand delaying their decision to allow more time to find the right venue - with Cork (Ireland), Barcelona (Spain) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) thought to be among the contenders should the event head offshore.
The new date is one of several key points released in the Protocol - a document which sets the foundations and rules of participation for all teams in the event, and records the items of mutual consent under the America's Cup Deed of Gift agreed between the Defender and the Challenger of Record which establishes the basis for a multi challenger event.
Cost reduction has been a key consideration in establishing the Protocol for the 37th edition of the Cup, as the cost of putting together a competitive campaign in the last edition saw just three challengers make it to the starting line in Auckland in late 2020.
Teams will only be allowed to build one new vessel for the 2024 regatta, with the AC75 confirmed as the class to be used in the next two editions of the Cup, and the introduction of the multipurpose One Design AC40 class which teams will be able to convert and use for testing, component development and Match Race training.
There will be up to three preliminary regattas requiring the participation of competitors, the first two to be sailed in AC40 yachts, with the third sailed in AC75s at the Match Venue just before the Challenger Selection Series. The AC40 class will also be used for the women's and youth America's Cup regattas
An updated 'Version 2' of the AC75 Class Rule has also been released, which specifies
the latest requirements to be class legal including modification requirements for new
teams buying 'Version 1 AC75's' that were built and used by teams competing in
Sir Ben Ainslie, team principal and chief executive of Challenger of Record INEOS Britannia, said the Protocol for the next edition of the Cup was taking the competition in the right direction.
"The Protocol this time around will see reduced team operating costs without compromising any of the technical development which the Cup is so famous for. There is an opportunity for change, so for AC37 we will see the first Women's America's Cup Regatta and we also welcome back the Youth America's Cup."
Existing teams are not permitted to sail their AC75s before the 17th September 2022, however new Challengers that have purchased a secondhand AC75 are permitted to sail it for 20 days from 17th June 2022.
Entries for challengers will open on December 1, with the entry period closing on July 31 next year. However, late entries may be accepted up until May 31, 2023.
"A lot of work has gone into the AC37 Protocol and we extend our thanks and gratitude to Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record - the Royal Yacht Squadron and INEOS Britannia - for their hard work and commitment to an exciting 37th America's Cup," Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron commodore Aaron Young said.
"Clearly the 36th America's Cup was hugely successful despite the difficulties and huge restrictions due to dealing with Covid-19 pandemic in New Zealand and globally. But as custodians of the America's Cup along with Emirates Team New Zealand, it is our responsibility to keep building the event for the good of the America's Cup, and the sport."
- Christopher Reive, NZH