The three syndicates challenging for the 36th America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2021 got official confirmation today exactly when and where the 36th America’s Cup match will take place.
Representatives of current holders Emirates Team New Zealand and the three official challengers: Luna Rossa (ITA); Ineos Team UK (GBR); and American Magic (USA) gathered in Cowes on the Isle of Wight in the UK to hear ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton announce on behalf of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron that Auckland will be the venue for the 36th America’s Cup Match Presented by Prada and that racing will take place from the 6th to the 21st of March 2021.
As the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand will race against the winner of the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series in a best of 13 (first to seven points), in the 36th America’s Cup Match.
Also announced were five potential race areas for the Prada Cup and America’s Cup Match.
The overall racing area encompasses the wider Hauraki Gulf, running south along the North Shore beaches around North Head and taking in the inner Waitemata harbour up to Auckland’s harbour bridge and downtown CBD, across Auckland’s Eastern suburbs and out the Tamaki Strait between Waiheke Island and Maraetai.
The announcement is billed as good news for America’s Cup fans hoping to watch the racing live. Dalton said spectators should have plenty of options to watch the race action from elevated vantage points on land.
“We needed to define a wide racing area to cater for all wind and tide directions and conditions, which we have done across the racing area,” said Dalton. “But the one overarching objective in identifying the specific race courses within the race area was to bring the racing as close as possible to the land-based spectators.
“We are incredibly lucky to have both North Head and Bastion Point where the public will literally be able to hear the AC75s whistling above the water and see the wind shifts on the water without having to set foot on a boat.”
The announcement will also enable the three challenging teams to firm up their data gathering activities around the expected weather conditions in the Hauraki Gulf at that time of year.
“The more information we know about the race course area, likely wind conditions, sea state, length of the course and the schedule for the build-up regattas over the next couple of years will really help us set our strategy for when we are building and launching our race boats,” said Ineos Team UK team principal and skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.
Ainslie’s sentiment was echoed by American Magic executive director and skipper Terry Hutchinson.
“Today is a huge day for the 36th America’s Cup,” Hutchinson commented. “Getting the courses today is a big deal because the teams will be basing their design decisions around this information.
“Exactly what we are going to be doing, how much time you will have to a boundary (if that is in fact the case) versus how much time you will have on the course, all impact the boat-design decisions.”
Racing is likely to take place late in the afternoon in New Zealand to allow the prevailing March sea breezes to build fully.
Course lengths will be determined by the wind strength, but a typical leg should be in the range 1.3 – 2.2 nautical miles (2.5 – 4.0 kilometres) with races expected to be targeted to last 35 minutes, including pre-start, a typical windward leeward configuration and a final high-speed reaching leg to the finish line.
With five possible course areas to choose from the organisers hope to be able avoid losing days to too much wind or excessive sea states – a problem encountered several times at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013.
The course area, directly between Eastern Beach and Waiheke Island provides a sheltered, all wind direction race course and was the training ground of Emirates Team New Zealand for their successful 35th America’s Cup challenge in Bermuda.
Read the original announcement on americascup.com