A respected yachting commentator claims teams' preparation for the next America's Cup could be set back by up to three months due to technical difficulties, while a proposed second preliminary regatta could be scrapped altogether.
Peter Montgomery told Radio Sport the date syndicates will be allowed to launch the first boats on the water ahead of the 2021 event in Auckland will likely have to be pushed back by three months, after tests revealed that the foils featured on the radical monohull design couldn't cope under load.
"They've been doing load tests and they have been breaking and so there comes the issue," Montgomery said.
"Part of the agreement between the defender (Team New Zealand) and the challenger of record was to have certain components - and one of the components is the foils. They've been doing tests on them and several have been breaking meaning they just cannot cope with the loads.
"The protocol was that you were not able to sail the new boats until the first of April next year ... it will be delayed until June."
The America's Cup protocol currently states that the first boat is not permitted to be launched prior to March 31, 2019, ahead of a series of preliminary regattas to be raced internationally.
Organisers were hoping to have two World Series events for challenger teams and the defender to line up against each other, with the first opportunity confirmed for next October in Sardinia.
However, Montgomery said the delayed protocol would rule out the opportunity of a second event, ultimately putting a strain on preparations for the 37th America's Cup.
"It will be a more compressed time because the dates for the America's Cup, March 2021, and for the Prada Cup ... will not be shifted," he said.
"That just puts a tighter period on it and therefore there will only be one regatta in the World Series of the America's Cup."
The deadline for entries close today with Montgomery expecting at least three more challengers to be confirmed for the Auld Mug, including one from the Netherlands.
There are currently three confirmed challengers - Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, American Magic, and INEOS TEAM UK.
"Team New Zealand are encouraging them so I'm expecting at least a couple, if not three and certainly I think the Netherlands could be one of them," Montgomery said.
"The Netherlands could definitely be serious, maybe one out of Italy, and who knows out of China and Norway, we'll have to wait and see."