No sooner had the 36th America’s Cup winner been decided, INEOS Team UK was announced as the official Challenger of Record. We suspected that talks were taking place between the two teams leading up to the final day’s racing. And as the Defender Team New Zealand have made a move to keep the country’s top sailing talent out of the clutches of America’s Cup competitors.
Keeping it national
Speaking to NZME, commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) Aaron Young confirmed that strict new nationality rules would require 100 per cent of crews to be citizens or have spent two of the previous three years in the country they represent.
With the America’s Cup locked away for at least another year, the new regulation will likely allow Team NZ to retain the likes of helmsman Peter Burling and flight controller Blair Tuke, who would have attracted the interest of billionaire-backed teams during their defence of the Cup in Auckland.
Young said they want to keep the regatta as an event between countries.
“The America’s Cup is a sporting event between nations and we’re trying to take that back a little bit to tradition and what the America’s Cup has been about.
“No one’s asked for it particularly, but we feel that’s the right way to go to enhance the event.”
The next Challenger of Record
INEOS Team UK and Royal Yacht Squadron Racing confirmed that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, on behalf of the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, accepted their Notice of Challenge for the 37th America’s Cup (AC37) and have become the Challenger of Record for AC37.
The Challenge letter was signed on 17th March 2021 onboard the yacht IMAGINE, by Bertie Bicket, Chairman of Royal Yacht Squadron Racing and accepted by Aaron Young, Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Team UK are bankrolled by Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s wealthiest man, and are a logical partner for the next Cup, given how the association between Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa – the COR for the 36th America’s Cup – has steadily deteriorated over the last year.
Young said they’re a “long way off” organising the next event, which is rumoured to be as soon as next year in a one-off regatta between Team NZ and Team UK at the Isle of Wight.
“Right now Team New Zealand are in a negotiation period with the NZ Government around what happens. We’ll leave that with them to work through.”
In addition, INEOS have confirmed they will continue to back Sir Ben Ainslie’s team to win sports oldest international trophy, providing much needed continuity, the cornerstone of every successful America’s Cup team. It will be the first time a British team has competed in three consecutive Cup cycles since Sir Thomas Lipton and the Royal Ulster YC bids between 1899 to 1930.
INEOS TEAM UK Skipper and Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie said: “INEOS Team UK are committed to working alongside Emirates Team New Zealand and our respective yacht clubs to continue the development of this historic event. The introduction of the AC75 class of yacht has proven to be a transformative moment in the history of the America’s Cup and will be the bedrock of a really bright future.”