It’s been over two and a half years since the shutters came down on the racing in Auckland for the 36th America’s Cup, but the show’s back on the road with the first of three Preliminary Regattas set to start on the 14th September, in Vilanova i La Geltrú on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
The Preliminary Regattas are warm-up events for the 37th America’s Cup, to be held in Barcelona in 2024. The first two Preliminary Regatta’s will see the six teams compete in the new one design four person, AC40 foiling monohulls. The AC40, designed and supplied by Emirates Team New Zealand, will also be used in the Puig Women’s America’s Cup and Youth America’s Cup in 2024.
“It will be great to get back to racing after the long wait from AC36,” commented INEOS Britannia Team Principal, CEO and helm, Ben Ainslie. “It’s important that the America’s Cup keeps growing and its therefore brilliant to have four returning teams and two new ones with Swiss and French challengers on the starting line. The Prelims are a great way to engage fans ahead of next year, and people are excited about the AC40, a completely new concept and class of boat. We’ve got the opportunity to showcase what they can do on short courses with fleet racing and match racing, and I’m sure we’re going to see some brilliant competition.”
The British crew selection features Sir Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott sharing the double helm position for the first time on a racecourse. The pair, who bring six Olympic gold medals to the table, will be joined by Bleddyn Mon and Leigh McMillan in the trimmer’s seats both previous world champions and experienced America’s Cup campaigners.
The racing will see America’s Cup foiling monohulls fleet race for the very first time, with all six competing teams on the course at the same time. Friday 15th and Saturday 16th will feature 3 fleet races, and on Sunday 17th, two remaining fleet races before the top two teams will face off in a winner-take-all match race finale.
The preliminary regatta comes at a busy period for INEOS Britannia who have been operating out of their all-new built base in Barcelona this summer ticking off the final days of testing their development boat ‘T6’, ahead of the remaining design decisions for the AC75 Class race boat that will contest the America’s Cup in 2024.
Ainslie added, “We’re looking forward to seeing where we stand in relation to the other teams, but everyone is on different trajectories with their preparation, and for many people the real priority is still the development of the AC75 race boat that will race in next year’s Challenger Selection Series and AC Match. But this is still a not to be missed opportunity to see all the Cup teams on the water at the same time, at a great venue. The team can’t wait to get into it.”
Racing in Vilanova takes place from 14:30- 16:30 BST and is available free-to-view via the official America’s Cup website, AmericasCup.com, so there’s no need to miss out. It’s definitely back, the 37th America’s Cup is finally on.