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Off the Record

The America’s Cup is an event linked not only to sport, but also to the world of innovation and technology. To win the America’s Cup it’s not enough to have the strongest crew, you also need to have the most technologically performing boat.

The technology on the AC75 boats is so advanced and in constant development that each detail is studied with obsessive attention. Day after day, new components are being developed and the challenge is a race towards innovation in which ideas, patents, discoveries and intellectual property are at stake.

Everyone tries to protect and reveal their projects as little as possible and each team tries to keep tabs on what the others are doing. Everyone observes and studies each other trying to gain insight on the results achieved by their opponents.

Stories of espionage in the America's Cup happen all the time, and anecdotes of these have filled the pages of newspapers. There have always been ears ready to capture every little piece of information and eyes open to steal each possible detail.

In the more recent editions of the America’s Cup, the so-called "recon" - or observation - has been approved and regulated, so much so that it has become an important activity within the team, with dedicated people. Recon data can be a source of inspiration to improve ideas and understand in which direction the design is going.

Training at sea is often studied and photographed by observers on other teams, who must comply with very specific rules: the use of drones is prohibited, interception devices cannot be used. In this edition, Article 55 of the Protocol (the document that regulates the America's Cup regattas) defines the criteria and areas where reconnaissance can be carried out.

Now espionage is also part of the game.