The 36th America’s Cup has been reduced to five contestants after DutchSail became the latest challenger to withdraw from the next edition of the sailing showpiece in 2021.
The Dutch team had been one of three late challengers, along with Malta Altus and Stars + Stripes Team USA. The Maltese team withdrew in May and now DutchSail has followed suit, stating that while it is committed to pursuing a future entry, the 36th America’s Cup presents too short a deadline to deliver the radical, but expensive, design for the AC75 monohulls introduced by defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand.
In a statement, DutchSail said that despite “many commitments” from governments, the business community, private individuals and other institutions, it decided that it was financially unjustifiable to start the campaign.
Skipper Simeon Tienpont, the driving force behind the initiative, said: “We were very close. In recent months, a wonderful foundation has been laid under DutchSail for participation in the America’s Cup.
“We will follow the 36th edition very closely and then be ready for the next edition. Then we have more time, more knowledge and more opportunity to further ignite the fire in the Netherlands. And in the meantime, we will take the necessary initiatives, all aimed at putting into operation the maritime technology ecosystem that has since been formed under DutchSail.”
Chairman of DutchSail, Hans Huis in’ t Veld, added: “Foiling America’s Cup machines are appealing research objects for zero-emission shipping, for wind propulsion and other sustainability issues. More than before, innovations in competitive sailing will be crucial in the world of the maritime economy. We will continue with DutchSail, that much is now clear.”
The venue for the finale of the 2021 America’s Cup is Auckland, New Zealand. The 35th America’s Cup concluded in June 2017 as Team New Zealand returned the trophy to the country by clinching victory over Oracle Team USA. As the host of the next America’s Cup, Team New Zealand holds the broadcasting rights and the ability to determine the commercial terms and make-up of its 36th edition alongside Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, the Challenger of Record.
The Dutch withdrawal means that Luna Rossa will only be joined as a challenger by British team Ineos, American Magic and Stars + Stripes. Indeed, the latter’s participation has only just been confirmed.
As part of their commitment, Stars + Stripes will have to complete the entry fee payment process before they will be eligible to race. They have already paid their initial payment but as a late entry challenger under the Protocol they also have a liability to pay a $1m (€885,000) late entry fee due in instalments by October 1.
Mike Buckley, co-founder and skipper of Stars + Stripes USA, said: “We appreciate the continued support of LBYC (Long Beach Yacht Club) and its membership, and the assistance of Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, over the past few months as we have reorganised our team. We continue to make progress with corporate partners, and believe we will have what it takes to be competitive in Auckland.”