Update 2 May 2016 by Jack Griffin
2017 America’s Cup competition format
Sorry for the long text – but this is complicated. You may want to skip to the Summary.
The America’s Cup Match – first to seven points
This is not the same as “best of 13.” Remember that the 2013 America’s Cup Match was “first to nine points.” We needed 19 races, since Oracle Team USA started with a score of -2 because of their penalty. For the 2017 America’s Cup there could be penalties and also a bonus point – the winner of the “America’s Cup Qualifiers” will start one point ahead if they are in the Match. Curiously the one point advantage comes from having the other team start with a score of minus one point. And, that point could be influenced by the America’s Cup World Series – read on…
Selecting the Challenger starts with the America’s Cup World Series
Challenger selection begins next year – 2015. The America’s Cup World Series – fleet racing in AC45s – counts. The series runs over two years 2015 and 2016 with the defender and all challengers racing. The winner of the ACWS begins the “America’s Cup Qualifiers” (details below) with two points. The ACWS runner up starts with one point. And – important detail – if there is a tie in the AC Qualifiers, the ACWS results will be used to break the tie.
“America’s Cup Qualifiers” – round robin in AC62’s (now AC Class)
The first match racing and the first racing in the America’s Cup Class yachts. All 2017 racing will be in Bermuda) beginning with the round robin “America’s Cup Qualifiers.” The AC Qualifiers will be a double round robin. If the defender wins this series, they start the America’s Cup Match one point ahead of the other team. If this series is won by a challenger and they make it to the AC Match, they will have the one point advantage. Remember that the winner and runner-up in the ACWS started this series with points earned in AC45 fleet racing and that ACWS results will be used to break ties. The venue for this racing is to be announced by 15 February 2015. (Update 17 April 2015: America’s Cup Event Authoritiy announced Bermuda as the venue for the America’s Cup Qualifiers.)
“America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs” – semi-finals and finals
The top four challengers move to the venue of the AC Match. Both semi-finals and finals will be “first to five points.” Racing is likely to be in late May / early June 2017
Got all that? In summary, to win the 2017 America’s Cup:
- Win the AC World Series in foiling AC45s to carry two points into the round robin AC Qualifiers. You will need to decide to race one or two AC45’s – if you race two, their results are averaged. Even if you don’t win, fight for every race – if you tie someone in the AC Qualifiers, your ACWS results will break the tie.
- Launch your AC62 (changed to “America’s Cup Class”) as early as allowed: 150 days before the start of the AC Qualifiers. This probably means September 2016.
- Decide where to launch your AC62 (changed to “America’s Cup Class”). You only have five months for training and development. Maybe you want to assemble it at the venue of the AC Qualifiers and then to launch it there. That way you don’t lose time shipping it.
- Win the round robin AC Qualifiers! This will give you one point going into the AC Match. Remember – your result from the ACWS will be used as a tie breaker.
- Ship your boat to the AC Match venue. Try not to get too frustrated while your boat is in transit and the defender is sailing their second boat at the venue.
- Move your team to the venue. You have about two months to prepare your AC62 for the conditions at the venue before the start of the AC Challenger Playoffs.
- In the “playoffs,” win five races to win the semi-finals.
- Win five races to win the finals and become the Challenger in the AC Match.
- Did you get the bonus point in the AC Qualifiers? Then win six races to take the America’s Cup! If you don’t have the bonus point, win seven races!
- Now, choose your Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup very carefully!
2017 America’s Cup Background
The rules have changed several times since they were first announced in June 2014. Here’s a quick summary of the major changes. Read the details on the competition format below the photo.
- The Protocol was released in June 2014.
- The original Challenger of Record, Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club resigned in July 2014, shortly after agreeing to the Protocol and the AC62 Class design rule.
- Their replacement, five time challenger from Italy, Luna Rossa, resigned in April 2015 when the other competitors voted to change from the eight man AC62 to the smaller, six man America’s Cup Class yachts.
- The original plan to hold the round robin “AC Qualifiers” in a venue other than Bermuda was dropped in April 2015 and the AC Qualifiers were moved to Bermuda.
- The deadline to announce the full schedule of AC World Series races was postponed and then ignored. As of 20 April 2016 the “Asian venue” (presumed to be Tokyo) has still not been confirmed.
- ACEA announced that the AC World Series would be extended into Q1 2017 and a group on Australia’s Gold Coast (near Brisbane) announced that they had strong support from AC Regatta Director Iain Murray to hold the event. Since then infrastructure issues at the Gold Coast venue mean that there will be no racing there in 2017.
Background – How the rules have been changing for the 2017 America’s Cup
Holding the AC Qualifiers in a different location from the AC Match was probably the most contentious issue between the challengers and the defender:
- Added cost estimates are in millions of dollars.
- Sailing conditions would have been different, requiring challengers to optimise their boats for two venues.
- At least a month of training and development would be lost while the boats were in transit.
- Since only the defender has two boats, they can train with one at the AC venue while their other boat is in transit.
No wonder the challengers were unhappy with this and got it changed!
Update, 17 April 2015:
- The AC62 Class has been dropped in favor of the “America’s Cup Class,” a 50 foot, largely one design foiling wing sail catamaran with a crew of six.
- ACEA has announced that all racing in 2017 will be in Bermuda, dropping plans for holding the America’s Cup Qualifiers in Auckland.
Update, 25 November 2014: The AC45s will be modified to foil. Four America’s Cup World Series regattas have been scheduled in 2015.
Winning the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 will require navigating a radically different format for the competition.
- One team may start the America’s Cup Match with a score of minus one (-1) before the first race is sailed. Read more.
- Fleet racing in AC45’s will count towards the score in the Match and towards challenger selection.
- The defender will be racing in the challenger selection series and can influence which challenger goes through to the Match.
- Challengers’ boats will need to be optimized for conditions in two different venues. (No longer true, as of 17 April 2015, when ACEA announced that all 2017 racing will be in Bermuda.)