By: Jack Griffin Published: 31 January 2016
Scoring is defined by the Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup, and in the Racing Rules of Sailing America’s Cup Edition, as I explain in this article.
Click image to download Protocol.
Click here to download the RRSAC.
America’s Cup World Series Scoring
High points scoring system. Race Day Two races count double points.
- Race Day 1 (usually Saturday): 1st place 10 points, 2nd place, 9 points, third place 8 points, … 6th place 5 points.
- Race Day 2 (usually Sunday): 1st place 20 points, 2nd place 18 points, third place 16 points, … 6th place 10 points.
So last place on Sunday has the value of first place on Saturday. Seems curious, but that’s the way it is.
The Americas’s Cup World Series runs from July 2015 to Q1 2017 – with points totalled over the series.
At the end of the series, the winner of the series and the second place team carry bonus points into the round robin (match racing) “America’s Cup Qualifiers” – two bonus points for the winner, one for the runner up. And, the ACWS standings will be used to break ties at the end of the round robin. These bonus points are hugely important, since the winner of the AC Qualifiers can start the America’s Cup Match with a one point advantage, and the lowest scoring challenger in the AC Qualifiers is eliminated.
An interesting wrinkle – non-AC teams
ACEA is allowed to accept non-AC teams to race in the ACWS. The Protocol does not say how these teams would affect the points earned by AC teams. An AC team would certainly not want to lose points in the ACWS if a non-AC team finished ahead of them in a race.
America’s Cup Qualifiers – Double round robin
Each team has 10 races – two races against each of the other five teams. Each win counts one point. And remember that the top two teams from the ACWS start with bonus points – two for the ACWS winner and one for the runner-up. The AC Qualifiers are scheduled from 26 May to 5 June 2017.
ACWS standings = tie break mechanism
If there are ties at the end of the round robin phase of racing, the ACWS standings will be used as the tie breaker. This could decide which team can start the AC Match one point ahead. The same holds for eliminating one challenger: At the end of the round robin, the four top challengers go on to the semi-finals of the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs. If there is a tie for fourth place, the ACWS standings will determine which team is eliminated.
America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs – semi-finals and finals
The top four challengers from the AC Qualifiers pair off for the semi-finals; the winners face each other in the finals. In both the semi-finals and the finals, the first team to score five points wins.
The semi-finals are scheduled from 7-9 June 2017; the finals from 10-12 June.
35th America’s Cup Match
The winner of the AC Challenger Playoffs faces defender Oracle Team USA in the 35th America’s Cup Match. The first team to score seven points wins and becomes the new defender. If one of the teams in the match won the AC Qualifiers, their opponent starts with a score of minus one (-1) point.
The AC Match is scheduled for two successive weekends – 17-18 and 24-25 June 2017, with no weekday racing in between. If necessary, racing will continue on Monday and Tuesday, 26-27 June.
About that curious minus one (-1) bonus point
Do you have questions about the bonus point and the dates of the America’s Cup Match? The answer is: television. Specifically the US network NBC. The weekend of 17-18 June is Father’s Day in the US, when the final two rounds of the US Open golf tournament are played. When NBC lost the US Open to Fox Sports in 2015, it left a gap in their calendar. Originally planned to begin on 24 June 2017, as reported by Land Rover BAR’s Andy Claughton in the May 2015 Seahorse, the AC Match was moved up a week to suit NBC. Two races are scheduled each day for two successive weekends. With no weekday racing, if a team started with a bonus point of plus one, they would need only six race wins to score seven points and take the Cup, leaving NBC with nothing to show on Sunday 25 June. The negative bonus point ensures that the Cup cannot be decided before that date. It also increases the likelihood that a team will close out the match on that date – great for the TV schedule. Fortunately the TV announcers have a year and a half to figure out how to explain all this.
25.2 ACWS high points scoring system
25.7 Non-AC teams may race
27.2 ACWS results break ties in AC Qualifiers
27.2 (a) (i) and (ii) ACWS bonus points for round robin AC Qualifiers
29 (b) competitor starts AC Match with minus one (-1) point
29 (d)(i) three races on last day of AC Match
RRS AC Rule 91.2