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37th America's Cup: First women's regatta features as Protocol announced

The Protocol is the document outlining the terms that govern the America's Cup competition, it is developed by the defender and Challenger of Record; alongside the contest for the Auld Mug, a women's regatta and a youth America's Cup will be held

America's Cup
Image: The parameters for the 37th America's Cup have been announced

The protocol of the 37th America’s Cup has been released, with the competition set to feature a first Women’s America's Cup regatta and a Youth America's Cup.

The Protocol is the document that outlines the terms that will govern an America's Cup competition and it is compiled by the defender of the Cup and the Challenger of Record.

INEOS Britannia, representing the Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd, were announced as the Challenger of Record shortly after Emirates Team New Zealand successfully defended the America's Cup in March 2021.

Since that point, Sir Ben Ainslie's outfit and Grant Dalton's team have worked hard to forge, what the British sailor describes as a "bold and progressive" Protocol for the Cup. The Match is due to take place in 2024.

"I don't think there's any chance that we could have negotiated Protocol's announcement.

"It's super exciting. I won't lie, there have been moments where a few long breaths had to be taken, but Grant and the team have been fantastic to work with. A huge thank you to everyone involved for getting us to this point.

"Both teams were clear that we wanted to maintain the AC75 boat, reduce the cost of participation and ensure that the Cup became inclusive and diverse.

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To have the first-ever women's America's Cup is absolutely the way sailing should be going , leading the way in diversity and inclusion. It's good to see.
Sir Ben Ainslie (Image credit: AC37 Event)

Continuing on from the last America's Cup, there is an updated 'Version 2' of the AC75 Class Rule, which relates to the incredible AC75 boats raced by America's Cup teams, has been shared.

As Ainslie made clear, cost reduction has been a key consideration. Teams are only permitted to build one new AC75 and limitations are set with regard to the number of foils and componentry that can be built.

The number of crew on board will be reduced from 11 sailors to eight and a condition of entry is that competitors agree to be part of a potential behind-the-scenes documentary series.

37th America's Cup - Key Dates

December 1, 2021 Entries for challengers open
March 31, 2022 Defender to announce Match Venue and approximate event dates
July 31, 2022 Entry period for challengers closes
September 17, 2022 Competitors may sail an AC75 yacht
November 30, 2022 Race schedule announce for Match
June 30, 2023 Youth and Women's America's Cup Agreement published

The 37th America's Cup competition will contain up to three Preliminary Regattas; the first two raced in AC40s and the last one at the America's Cup Match venue in AC75s.

An AC40 is a super-fast, scaled-down version of the AC75 and at times, it will be able to reach similar speeds to its sister boat. This is the boat that will be raced by the women's teams in their regatta and in the youth America's Cup.

The Challenger Selection Series and the final America's Cup Match will be held in 2024, with the Match venue and approximate event dates being announced by March, 31 2022.

Finally, as part of the Cup's continued quest for innovation and new clean technology, all teams will have to build and operate two hydrogen-powered foiling chase boats for their campaign, subject to a proof of concept.

"A significant proportion of the team's carbon footprints is in their on-water operations, through their long days of testing, development and training," Dalton said.

"So, for the past year, we have been researching, designing and are now building a prototype hydrogen-powered foiling chase boat.

"This will have a dramatic effect on the reduction of the team's carbon footprints, as well as pushing the development of hydrogen in the marine sector."

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