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America’s Cup: Format for ACWS Auckland & Christmas Race revealed

America's Cup

There are just three weeks to go now before the world gets to witness the new generation of America’s Cup class yachts – the monohull foiling AC75s – match racing for the very first time when all four competing teams go head-to-head in the three-day America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland from December 17 – 19.

A second one day event – the America’s Cup Christmas Race – will take place immediately afterwards, on Sunday December 20.

The upcoming four days of racing will be the only time that the Defender – Emirates Team New Zealand – gets to race against the three Challenger teams – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA), NYYC American Magic (USA), Ineos Team UK (GBR) – before facing one of those teams – the winner of the January/February Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series – in the 36th America’s Cup Match next March.


Appropriately, the first ever official AC75 race – scheduled for 1500 local time in Auckland on December 17 – will see the Defender face the Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team.

The second pairing will be the US syndicate NYYC American Magic against the British crew Ineos Team UK.

All the teams are expected to race their second generation AC75 at the regatta, all four of which have been launched in recent weeks with the crews cramming in long training hours on the waters off Auckland ahead of the first official event of the 36th cycle of the America’s Cup.

However, as boat-on-boat training is prohibited under the rules of the 36th America’s Cup and with all four teams interpreting the AC75 design rule differently with their second boats, there is great anticipation to see the teams race for the first time.

The format for the ACWS Auckland event features three days of Round Robin match racing when all four teams will face each other twice. Four races are scheduled per day.

The single day standalone America’s Cup Christmas Race will comprise a two semi-final matches – with the teams seeded based on the final standings in the ACWS event – followed by a final one-race match for the top two teams and a run-off match for third and fourth place.

Racing will be around a windward-leeward racecourse with an upwind start with individual races targeted to last around 25 to 30 minutes.

Racing is scheduled for 1500 – 1800 each day weather permitting. The racecourse to be used will be announced each day depending on wind strength and direction and the local tides. The wind range for racing is 6.5 to 21 knots.