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America's Cup: AC40 creates its own class association - five regatta series planned for 2025

by AC40 Class Association 7 Dec 2023 21:19 GMT 8 December 2023
AC40 - is now an independent One_design class with a circuit of five regattas to be sailed in 2025 © Ian Roman / America's Cup

The recently concluded America's Cup Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah has seen the dynamism, reputation, and unparalleled performance of the AC40 confirm the vessel, crafted by Emirates Team New Zealand and produced by McConaghy Boats, as the world's fastest and most exciting one-design yacht.

For Emirates Team New Zealand, a pivotal force within the newly established AC40 Class Association, this event served as a critical juncture to solidify the foundations of the AC40 Class.

Following constructive discussions with teams and potential private owners in recent weeks, the AC40 Class Association is now able to disclose key features central to its developmental plans.

The AC40 Class Association will be governed by a Council of AC40 owners and a Committee comprising three new owner members, alongside one representative from each of McConaghy Boats and Emirates Team New Zealand.

The Association will oversee the curation of AC40 events where private owners and professional sport teams, can compete on equal terms. Comprehensive boatyard services will also support new teams whilst training and racing. In essence, the primary mandate is to promote, safeguard, and enhance the AC40 Class Yachts while facilitating effective communication with owners.

The AC40 Class Association Committee will also include Luca Rizzotti as Class Manager: “There are no yachts or class events for private owners more exciting than the AC40 Class Association circuit, a cradle for new owners, professional teams and America’s Cup partners. With the rules of engagement now confirmed, we believe we have struck the right balance within the AC40 Class Association to really level the playing field.

Sam Pearson, AC40 Sales Manager at Ancasta emphasized, “The objective with the AC40 Class Association is to maximise the incredible opportunity that has been presented to the private owners’ racing sector, in the shape of the AC40 yacht. Never before have such passionate, competitive, thrill-seeking owners been able to purchase a yacht of this nature. With the AC40 Class Association now established, the future is incredibly exciting.”

At the conclusion of the Jeddah stage, Emirates Team New Zealand Chief Technical Officer Dan Bernasconi said, "It’s fantastic recognition for the designers and the Team to win the World Sailing Boat of the Year Award last month: the perfect springboard to launch the America’s Cup careers of the youth and Puig Women's America’s Cup sailors, as well as the private owners’ class. Everyone wants to go foiling now and this is the perfect new class that will exist beyond the America’s Cup."

The AC40 Class Association has released a Strategy & Governance document that includes the following provisions:

  • The racing wind limit for the first year will be 18kts. Flight control system parameters will be adjusted according to regatta conditions to limit flying heights and maximize safety.
  • The AC40 Class Rule will remain unchanged (except for any minor safety enhancements, etc), unless change is agreed by the AC40 Class Association.
  • AC40 teams can include a maximum of two AC36 and/or AC37 sailing team members on board; other America’s Cup team members, Women’s America’s Cup and Youth America’s Cup sailors are not included in this quota.
  • For the inaugural year, this quota is extended to three AC36 and/or AC37 sailing team members for any owner-driver sailing less than 50 days annually.
  • A racing calendar of five events scheduled for 2025 will be determined by the geographical preferences of the Association members. These events will comprise three races and a practice day, adhering to fleet racing rules.

In subsequent years, a sixth event will be added, potentially hosting a European or World Championship regatta.

AC40 Class Association Manager Luca Rizzotti announced, "Over ten iconic locations in Europe, Asia, and the US have expressed interest in hosting our events, with advanced negotiations underway for sponsorship. The Association plans a race/training camp in the second half of 2024 to establish maintenance standards and train new AC40 Class entrants."

Commencing in 2025, the AC40 Class Association will extend shore support and maintenance to all members, including expertise in electronics, mechatronics and hydraulics.

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