17 Nov 2021

America's Cup continues to cut costs

9:44 am on 17 November 2021

Reducing costs, being more sustainable and increasing inclusivity are the hallmarks of the protocol for the 37th America's Cup released today.

37th Americas Cup Protocol and Class Rule Announcement

Photo: AC37 Event

The hefty rulebook for the next America's Cup sets out the timeline for when new teams need to express their interest in being involved, which class of boats will be racing, and who can make up each team - but a regatta venue will not known until March next year.

The protocol records the items of mutual consent under the America's Cup Deed of Gift agreed between the defender, The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Inc, and the challenger of record, the Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd, and was eight months in the making.

One of the first items the protocol sets straight is that the next America's Cup will be held in 2024 as a multi-challenger event - putting to rest any suggestions of a one-off challenge between Team New Zealand and the challenger of record.

The entry period for challenges opens on 1 December 2021 and closes on 31 July 2022 but late entries may be accepted up until 31 May 2023.

Emirates Team New Zealand v Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. Race 5, Day 3 of the America's Cup presented by Prada. Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday the 13th of March 2021. © Copyright photo: Chris Cameron / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport / Chris Cameron

Only three syndicates made it to Auckland to challenge for the 36th America's Cup and in a bid to boost the numbers for the next regatta the protocol aimed to cut costs.

AC75s, the same class of foling monohulls raced in Auckland, will be used in 2024 but each competitor is limited to building one new AC75 and there is restrictions on how many modifications and foils can be made.

Each competitor may only sail one AC75 at once and no sailing is permitted from now until 17 September 2022, except by a new challenger which buys an existing AC75 off one of the competitors in the last America's Cup.

Those new competitors are allowed to sail that yacht for a maximum of 20 sailing days between 17 June and 17 September 2022.

All teams will share recon and starting software will be supplied.

The number of crew members on the boats drops from 11 to eight and all sailors who compete on the race boat must meet the new crew nationality requirement that 100 percent of the race crew be nationals of the country the team's yacht club.

To qualify as a "national" the crew member has to either be a passport holder of the country as at 17 March 2021 or to have been physically present in that country (or, acting on behalf of such yacht club in Auckland, the venue of the AC36 Events) for 18 months of the previous three years prior to 18 March 2021.

As an exception to the rule, there is a discretionary provision allowing a quota of non-nationals on the race crew for competitors from approved "Emerging Nations", the primary objective being to encourage new entries and allow emerging nations to develop their own talent who can obtain experience in the America's Cup.

There are no other nationality requirements for designers or other team members.

Covid-19 wiped out the lead-up regattas to the last America's Cup, but for the 2024 event all competitors must compete in three preliminary regattas. The first two regattas will be sailed in the AC40 yachts and the final preliminary regatta will be sailed in AC75s at the same venue that the America's Cup will be sailed at and will take place just before the Challenger Selection Series.

The results of the preliminary regattas will determine the initial seedings in the Round Robin stage of the Challenger Selection Series.

Team New Zealand will be able to compete in the round robin stages of the Challenger Selection Series, but its results will be excluded from the scoring which determines which challengers qualify for the semi-finals.

The winner of the best-of-seven Challenger Selection Series final, between the top two challengers, will meet Team New Zealand in the Match.

The Match also remains a best-of-seven races series.

The AC40 boats will be used in the new women's and youth regattas that will run alongside the America's Cup on non-America's Cup race days. The crews in these races are tied to the same nationality rules as the America's Cup.

The details of the women's and youth regattas will be released by 30 June 2023.

Race management for the next America's Cup will be entirely independent of the event organisation and will be led by the Regatta Director - to avoid any conflicts between the defender and challengers as seen with Team New Zealand and the last challenger of record Luna Rossa.

A view from behind of the proposed hydrogen chase boat.

A view from behind of the proposed hydrogen chase boat. Photo: Emirates Team New Zealand

As part of the ongoing drive for innovation and new clean technology in the America's Cup, all teams must build and operate two hydrogen-powered foiling chase boats for their campaign.

"A significant proportion of teams carbon footprints is in their on-water operations, through their long days of testing, development and training," said Team New Zealand chief executive officer Grant Dalton.

"So for the past year we have been researching, designing and are now building a prototype hydrogen-powered foiling chase boat which will have a dramatic effect on the reduction of the teams carbon footprints, as well as pushing the development of hydrogen in the marine sector."

Key dates:


  • 17 November: AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule V2 published.
  • 1 December: Entries for Challengers open.


  • 31 March: Defender to announce Match Venue and approximate event dates.
  • 17 June: New competitors may sail Version 1 AC75's for 20 sailing days.
  • 31July: Entry Period Closes.
  • 17 September: Competitors may sail an AC75 Yacht.
  • 30 November: ACE to announce race schedule for the Match.
  • 30 November: ACE to announce racing area for CSS and Match.
  • 31December: ACE to publish Brand Manual.


  • 31 May: Final cut off for late Challenger entries.
  • 30 June: ACE to publish Youth and Women's AC Agreement.
  • 30 June: COR/D to publish Match Conditions.
  • 30 November: COR/D to publish CSS Conditions