A Bold Protocol

The Operation

With Dave Endean, COO of INEOS Britannia

With Dave Endean, COO of INEOS Britannia

The second in a new series published exclusively on www.INEOSBritannia.com digging deeper into the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup. To read the first part in the series with INEOS BRITANNIA sailor Giles Scott, click here.

In the second part of ‘A Bold Protocol’ we are joined by Dave Endean, COO of INEOS BRITANNIA. Endean, who has competed in five America’s Cup campaigns, was previously Project Director with the British Challenger in Auckland in AC36 and has transitioned to the role of COO, responsible for the day-to-day running and operations of the team’s campaign alongside CEO Ben Ainslie.

In this exclusive interview, Endean breaks down the operations side of the AC37 Protocol, covering everything from the brand-new hydrogen-powered chase boats through to the logistics of non-sailing periods and more.

Writing the Protocol             

One of the first priorities for INEOS Britannia as Challenge of Record after the 36th America’s Cup was to work closely with the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, to draft the Protocol for AC37. With the AC75 being a second-generation class, the majority of the Class Rule was already in place, but both teams had a clear desire to improve on the previous edition where possible.


The creation of this document, which governs the event for the next campaign, brings together the Challenger of Record and Defender. The two teams work together on a pretty fixed timeline, whilst communicating outward to other teams to get them onboard. Fortunately, however, Endean adds “the relationship stayed strong throughout the process”. Ultimately, both teams are confident that the Protocol for AC37 will create a truly spectacular event in 2024.

Cost Saving

As stated when the Protocol for AC37 was first revealed, cost reduction was a key consideration as part of the balance of the document, with an ambition to open up the America’s Cup to more teams.  Perhaps the most notable example of this ambition was a change of the rule to only allow each team to build one AC75 boat, the 75-foot foiling monohull introduced in AC36.

This change was introduced simply due to the high cost of designing, manufacturing and sourcing the materials required to build such a boat which is made up of over 17,000 individual parts. As Endean explains, “by restricting teams to one AC75, it gives new teams an opportunity to enter as it reduces the monetary bar to enter the event.”

For this edition, with the AC75 now being a second-generation boat there is also the added benefit of there simply being more AC75s already in existence, Endean adds that “it is more attractive to teams to enter the event as they know there are second-hand AC75 boats that can be purchased and used to understand what the AC75 consists of, while their design team starts to build the new boat in the background.” Endean hopes that this is a new opportunity for teams to get on board.

Since the Protocol was released to the public on the 16th of November, there have been five teams that have already formally announced their challenge (Team New Zealand, INEOS BRITANNIA, Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Luna Rossa and American Magic). There is hope that more teams will join the fray.

Sailing Period Restrictions

Leading up into the AC37, there are several periods where teams are restricted from sailing their AC75s. This is to equalise the balance between existing teams and new teams, whilst also helping to rule out seasonal differences that teams in the northern and southern hemisphere might face.

When a new team joins the America’s Cup, they have the additional opportunity to sail their AC75, for 20 days sailing accumulated between June and September, with the option of buying and sailing a second-hand AC75 during this time. Existing teams can only begin sailing their AC75s from September 2022. As Endean explains, these sailing period restrictions are another new measure designed to encourage new teams to enter the 37th America’s Cup:

“The sailing period restrictions are big mile markers for teams to decide what they want to achieve during the sailing period and iterate their designs. The 20 extra accumulated sailing days is a window of opportunity for a new team to get a leg up to try and get on the same level playing field as teams that are already in place.”

Hydrogen Chase Boats

One of the challanging new innovations in the AC37 Protocol from a technical and sustainable innovation point of view is the introduction of hydrogen powered foiling chase boats. These boats have been introduced as part of the ongoing drive for innovation and clean technology in the America’s Cup. The America’s Cup has long been a testing ground for new technologies in the marine industry and as Endean states, the 37th edition will be no different.

“The America’s Cup has always acted as a platform for innovations within the sailing world that are not always as achievable in the commercial market due to funding. This makes our jobs challenging, particularly as hydrogen power is not traditionally used in the marine industry. This is an ambitious challenge and will keep the America’s Cup at the forefront of innovation and design.”

Whilst the hydrogen-powered chase boats may the most immediately visible innovation in the AC37 Protocol, Endean expects there to be plenty more opportunities within AC37 to explore new technologies which can filter down into the marine industry.

“As part of our continuous drive to improve performance, we are often researching new technological opportunities that can be filtered down into the marine industry that wouldn’t normally experience high levels of research and development, or funding. We are lucky to have the unique opportunity to try and expose some of these new technologies and explore commercial options of foiling boats for the future. It is always very exciting to see where this technology can take us”.

Importance of Team

One area that has not changed and for Endean has always been one of the, if not the most important thing to get right, is building up the best possible team and best team culture to make history and win the America’s Cup. Endean, who was Project Director with the team in AC36 saw first-hand in Auckland the drive of the team to succeed and turnaround the performance from the World Series through to the PRADA Cup. It was a journey that brought the team closer together than ever before, and one he hopes will continue to benefit the team throughout AC37.

“In Auckland, there was a lot of pressure on the team to perform. We are aiming to have a team that is again able to come together to work under pressure, produce results, and be efficient. 

“We are currently in the process of building that team, combining people who bring huge amounts of expertise and great ideas, with people who can execute those ideas and get the boat out on the racetrack. 


What’s next?

This past year, INEOS BRITANNIA has been primarily focused on finalising the technical group to ensure that they are working well together in order to develop the tools needed to design the team’s race boat.

The next step now, according to Endean, is to “build up the operations team as they are going to help make sure that the team is on the water by the end of 2022, when the non-sailing period is over.”

“By the end of this year [2022], we will have 90% of the team brought together with the operations and technical team fully operating out of a sailing venue. The team that has been flat out in Brackley over the past year will then be able to start seeing the hopefully successful results of what they have made possible".

“We can’t wait!”