Feb 18, 2021
In these uncertain times, as the permitted Event Organiser responsible for the delivery of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada in Auckland under the Host Venue Agreement with NZ Government and Auckland Council, America’s Cup Event Limited remains committed to maintaining as many aspects as possible of the Event as originally planned.This includes the ambition to maximise the possibility of safe public engagement at the event for Aucklanders and kiwis from around the country, as well as the commercial benefits to local businesses, event sponsors and partners which includes the New Zealand Government and Auckland City. We are also mindful of the global broadcasting rights holders that are taking the stunning images of our country with thousands of people enjoying the event and broadcasting them into living rooms and devices around the world.
America’s Cup Event Chair Tina Symmans said, “As event organisers, we have spent a considerable amount of time since Sunday evening looking at all possible scenarios. Like the majority of events around the country this weekend, the ramifications of running the remainder of the event need to be considered in an environment which is highly uncertain due to the latest COVID-19 concerns.”
ACE has consulted with the America’s Cup Minister Stuart Nash and senior Council officials and one consideration has been to postpone the current schedule of racing and events in the best interests of the public and all stakeholders given the current COVID-19 environment.
The position of ACE is based on one of two options based on the Government’s review of alert levels at 4:30 this afternoon:
– If the alert levels drop to level 1 in time, then racing will resume this weekend.
– If the alert level remains at 3 or 2, which obviously entails restrictions in gatherings and difficulties with events, racing and event activations would need to be rescheduled to recommence the PRADA Cup Final on Friday 26 February. To respect the original timeframe scheduled between the Prada Cup Final and the America’s Cup Match, Race 1 of the Match would subsequently begin a week later on Saturday 13 March with the intention of racing still being completed by 21 March.
This morning the Challenger of Record (COR36) has made their position very clear in stating their desire to race from tomorrow despite COVID Alert level 3, to complete the PRADA Cup final by the 24th February in accordance with the existing Prada Cup conditions.
They have also stated that if the racing program cannot be completed by Wednesday (24th) they intend to declare the leading point scorer the winner of the Prada Cup and Challenger for the America’s Cup Match. Under the current points situation, that would be Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team.
“There is no guarantee as to what COVID-19 Alert Level Auckland or New Zealand will be operating under. If the event is faced with operating under COVID-19 Level 2 or 3, plans are in place to ensure the continued delivery and conclusion of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada within the scheduled dates.” Explained Symmans. “Clearly this would have potential implications for public participation which we are trying to avoid, however the intention of the potential rescheduling will give the best possible opportunity to see the event run with maximum engagement and benefits for public and stakeholders.
CHALLENGER OF RECORD AMERICA’S CUP 36 ORGANIZER OF THE PRADA CUP CALLS FOR RESUMING RACING AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Challenger of Record America’s Cup 36 (COR 36) – the organizer of the PRADA Cup – urged America’s Cup Events (ACE) to request an exemption to carry on the Final of the PRADA Cup in compliance with the Racing Calendar and in order to meet the legitimate expectations of the competitors involved, of the international public and of the international television networks who have already programmed their broadcastings.
Unfortunately this did not happen, notwithstanding a protocol and a procedure which were put in place since months in the event such circumstance would occur. COR 36 has been now informed by ACE that they are discussing with the Authorities different options, including the postponement of the racing to the 26th of February; this is in total breach of the regulations, which set the 24th of February as the end of the PRADA Cup, without any possible extension.
COR 36 is indeed endeavouring to ensure that the PRADA Cup Final resumes as early as the 19th of February whilst respecting public health and the protocols imposed by the New Zealand government. COR 36 has also offered its full support to ACE and to the local authorities to immediately implement the Level 3 Alert management plan provided for by the AC36 Event COVID-19 Management On Land and On Water Plans. These plans provide that, in a level 3 COVID-19 alert, the AC36 Village shall be closed and the regattas shall resume “behind closed doors”, without any public, as it already happens for many international sporting events (Formula 1, Australian Open etc.).
This on water management plan has already been tested and can therefore be immediately activated with the approval of the Authorities. Since teams are authorised to sail and practice under COVID-19 level 3 alert, it is hard to understand why racing “behind closed doors” could not be allowed applying the same protocols.
In this context, and in compliance with the regulations, there is no reason to further delay the carrying on of the regattas as scheduled, giving both teams the opportunity to complete the number of races required by the series within the terms and deadlines imposed by the racing calendar. It should be reminded that otherwise Rule A2.3(b) of Appendix A to the World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing America’s Cup edition Version 3.03 for the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA – which provide that “….the winner is the team with the highest score at the date of the final scheduled date” – would apply.
COR 36 hopes not to apply this provision and that an exemption to allow racing at the scheduled dates will be granted.