The late-entry period for the 36th America’s Cup closed last week (30th November) at 17:00 NZT, with a total of eight new Notices of Challenge received.
The new applicants, who will have needed to pay the $1 million late-entry penalty fee, will hope to qualify and compete against the defending Emirates Team New Zealand. The New Zealand Defenders won the competition ahead of the US Oracle Team in 2017 when racing on the Great Sound in Bermuda.
Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton believes the number of new applicants underlines an increased global interest in the America’s Cup.
“We are really encouraged by the level of interest that has been shown from around the world by the number of Notices of Challenge that have been lodged,” he said. “[It is] a true reflection on the belief and excitement of the new AC75 boat concept and the ideal host venue for racing.”
However, not all of the entrants will become competitors; only one of the eight applicants can be accepted immediately, according to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Challenging yacht clubs must meet a number of requirements outlined by the America’s Cup official protocol and the event’s Deed of Gift. Alongside other regulations, eligible yacht clubs must also have their own annual regatta, must have existed for more than five years and should be supported by at least 200 paying club members. The new protocol also dictates that at least three of the competing crew must now be citizens of their team’s country.
Dalton added that it is important “not to jump to conclusions on the final number of teams. It is only when the acceptance process has been completed that we will know how many will compete.
Starting as of now, applications will be thoroughly examined with confirmation of Challengers to be announced at a later date. Whilst the exact nationalities of these late-entry teams have not been revealed, it has been rumoured that a team from the Netherlands may be in the mix for the first time.
The successful applicants will join the already confirmed USA, Italy and UK teams in the America’s Cup World Series. Taking place in late 2019, these preliminary races will determine how many teams will enter the 36th America’s Cup sponsored by Prada, which will be held in March 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand.
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