December 2020

At the Dawn of the 36th America's Cup

The racing finally gets underway in the first race event of the 36th America’s Cup with four days of match racing during the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland, New Zealand (Dec 17th- 19th) and the PRADA Christmas Race (Dec 20th).

It will be the only time that all the entrants for the 36th America’s Cup will race against each other and provide a unique opportunity for the teams to assess all their rivals’ strengths and weaknesses. Fans of the America's Cup all around the world will be able to enjoy coverage via all forms of media on every screen. The primary objective is to make this the most viewed and accessible America’s Cup competition ever.

Set against the picturesque background of the Hauraki Gulf of Auckland, New Zealand, with a new title sponsor, PRADA, and in a dramatic new class of racing yacht, the AC75, the world’s best sailors will race to win the oldest trophy in international sport.

Each AC75 is equipped with ten cameras supplemented by chase boat, helicopter and drone cameras. Coverage will include the world feed with commentary from Ken Read & Stephen McIvor together with Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Shirley Robertson, gold medalist and SSL on water commentator of previous SSL Finals. In addition to the world feed, there will be two dedicated yacht channels and a data feed offered with expert sailing commentary.

Live, highlights and news coverage will be generally available free-to-air in English on and all the usual official social channels of the event. 

Following the America’s Cup race Village opening yesterday and the opening press conference today, the four teams are finally ready to meet on the waters of Waitemata Harbour.

The PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland and the PRADA Christmas Race regattas will be unique, as it will the first and last time all four teams- The Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, sailing Te Rehutai, and the three Challengers: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, New York Yacht Club with their boat Patriot, and INEOS TEAM UK with Britannia will all get to race each other. During the PRADA Cup in January and February, only the challengers will meet on the water, while the America’s Cup Match will be a duel between the winner of the Prada Cup and the Defender. The first race, which is expected to start right after 3pm, will involve Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team: a showdown of two of the longest standing America’s Cup teams.

Iain Murray, the Regatta Director, who also has a lot of experience as a sailor, has carefully watched the boats during the practice races and confirmed: “Having been close to these boats and having seen the practice races, the match racing is what the America’s Cup history is looking for. From what I have seen of the little bit of racing so far, I think we are in from something quite special.”

In the last few days, the teams have crossed paths during the practice races, which have given the chance to observers to comment on their performance. Perhaps the best answer on the matter was given by Sir Ben Ainslie, INEOS TEAM UK’s Skipper: “We can’t wait to get racing, this has been three years in the making. These remarkable America’s Cup boats are so complex that the first racing in the America’s Cup World Series will be a steep learning curve for all the teams, and whilst the teams won’t be in their final configurations, I have no doubt that it will be a great spectacle for the fans. We really hope that the British public will get behind us in this challenge of a lifetime. Sailing is a major sport out here in New Zealand and the anticipation is building for it to be a huge spectacle. For those unable to join us here in Auckland, we plan to put on a good show for you”.

Peter Burling, helmsman of Te Rehutai, which is Emirates Team New Zealand’s second boat, added: “All the teams have their strengths and their weaknesses, but we are happy on how the boat has been going. It’s been a great opportunity for us to get out and sail around the marks with the other boats. Flight Control is really important, even if it is not a very conventional role on the boat. The boats are getting more three-dimensional on their trim, so you really need to nail it to get the most out of it.” 

Max Sirena, skipper for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, declared “At the moment there is a lot of expectation behind us from Italy and from our supporters. It will be a pretty interesting week of racing, and every minute we spend in the water is going to be gold. Every day there is a different boat in the water, and the development process will continue going on until the end of the cup. The success with the public will directly depend on our performance: like in any sport, if you are racing well there will be a lot of people following you.”

Terry Hutchinson, who is leading the New York Yacht Club back in competition for the America’s Cup after 25 years with their boat Patriot, said: “It’s great to feel the support of the sailing community, the New York Yacht Club and the rest of the Country. It has been an interesting evolution to use the simulator to learn how to sail the boat properly and understanding the course boundaries. It’s been fascinating to learn how to develop a boat using new technologies.”

At the end of the interviews, Francesco Longanesi Cattani, CEO Representative of COR 36 and Title Sponsor Liaison, concluded: “Being here with this role, Challenger of Record and Title Sponsor, is a national evolution of the involvement of Prada in the America’s Cup in 2000. We were rookies but we won the Challenger selection series. We didn’t win the cup, we were defeated by New Zealand, but we received a very beautiful message by Sir Peter Blake, who invited us to come back again to compete. Patrizio Bertelli took his advice very seriously, and when we had the opportunity in Bermuda to become the Challenger of Record and Title Sponsor, is was a natural evolution of our involvement.”


Source 36th America's Cup

Rachele Vitello

SSL Press Officer since 2015