Wellington - Team
New Zealand moved on Friday to cut the cost of competing in the America's
Cup and tighten nationality rules after years of criticism that
yachting's premier event has become a billionaires' plaything.
The New Zealanders, who won the Auld Mug from Team USA in Bermuda
last June, get to set the rules of the next regatta, which they
confirmed will be held in Auckland in March 2021.
The rule book, known as the protocol, was released on Friday and
specifies the race will be contested by high-performance monohulls,
rather than the futuristic catamarans used in the past two editions.
It contains a section dedicated solely to keeping expenses down,
saying: "An ongoing objective has always been in containing costs for
Previously, the likes of billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison and
Swiss pharmaceuticals magnate Ernesto Bertarelli have bankrolled
successful campaigns by hiring the best crews, designers and builders
from around the world.
For the 2021 regatta, the teams' boats will all have to have common design and manufacturing elements.
Teams will also be banned from carrying out expensive wind-tunnel or
water-tank testing and cannot commission their own meteorologists for
Syndicate head Grant Dalton has tightened nationality criteria after
seeing many of his Kiwi sailors poached by well-funded rivals over the
Under the new rules, at least three of the 10-12 man crew must be
citizens of the country the team represents, and the rest must meet
strict residency criteria.
"It still provides plenty of opportunities for internationals to sail
for other teams, it just means they need to commit to living in the
country of the yacht club their team represents... it also encourages
countries to grow their own talent," Team NZ said.
The syndicate also confirmed that Italian fashion house Prada will
sponsor the challenger series, where teams vie for the right to race New
Zealand in the final.
Prada's chief executive Patrizio Bertelli is also team principal of
Italy's Luna Rossa, the challenger of record for the regatta.
Team NZ said that "in the unlikely event" Auckland could not host the
2021 regatta, such as a natural disaster, it will be held in Italy.