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America’s Cup: Challengers Update

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Five months before the scheduled start of the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series for the 36th edition of the America’s Cup we give a quick update on the current status of the three challenging teams.


British and Italian teams head for Auckland

Both the Official Challenger of Record syndicate Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team from Italy and the British challenger INEOS Team UK are in the process of transferring their operations from their home bases to New Zealand.

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American Magic training on board the AC75 DEFIANT in Auckland, New Zealand, venue of the 36th America’s Cup. Image © Will Ricketson/NYYC American Magic

The Italian and UK squads will join America’s Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand and the USA challenger NYYC American Magic, both of which have been making good use of their unfettered access to the racing areas out on the Hauraki Gulf over the past couple of months.

The Italian and British teams had previously been training at Cagliari, Sardinia over the northern hemisphere winter period before the Covid-19 pandemic, struck forcing INEOS to hurriedly decamp back to their home base in Portsmouth in the UK.

Both are both understood to be transporting their first generation AC75s by cargo ships on to Auckland during September.

Second generation AC75s yet to be revealed

Meanwhile, NYYC American Magic and INEOS Team UK have taken delivery of their second generation AC75 yachts. This week the Americans were the first to load their new boat aboard an Antonov cargo plane for the long-haul flight from Boston to Auckland via Honolulu.

The British team is expected to follow suit very soon and currently have a large contingent of personnel on the way to Auckland, where they will need to quarantine for 14 days under anti-Covid-19 government regulations.

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Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team meanwhile are expecting their second boat to leave the Persico shipyard in northern Italy early in October, when it will be flown to Auckland. The team plans to have its people quarantined in New Zealand and be sailing on the Hauraki Gulf by the end of October.

With all of the boats still under wraps there are few clues what design changes each of the challenging teams have made from the first-generation boats. Popular opinion suggests that the British and American teams will make the biggest changes from their original designs with all four design styles converging towards the Italian’s first boat.

Main image © Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team