America’s Cup racing to be raced in unprecedented proximity to land based fans in Auckland.
Two more milestone announcements of the 36th America’s Cup were made today at the America’s Cup Overture event in Cowes on the Isle of Wight as Emirates Team New Zealand’s CEO Grant Dalton, on behalf of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron officially named Auckland as the venue for the 36th America’s Cup Match Presented by Prada, in addition to notifying the dates of which the racing for America’s Cup Match will take place between 6th- 21st March 2021.
The Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand will race the winner of the Prada Cup challenger selection series in a best of 13, first to 7-point America’s Cup Match race series.
The other key announcement made in accordance with the 36th America’s Cup Protocol was the race course area on behalf of the Defender and the Challenger of Record of all races of the Prada Cup and America’s Cup Match.
The jewel in Auckland’s crown is widely regarded as the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf which offer a plethora of race course options in the full range of wind directions and conditions.
“There is a reason for Auckland being world renown as ‘The City of Sails’ and for its sailing conditions, “said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. “So, we are very fortunate that the geography of Auckland allows us the ability to bring so many exciting and challenging race course options in close proximity to elevated vantage points for land-based spectators .”
The Racing Area is defined by a varied area outlined across the wider Hauraki Gulf, running south along the North Shore beaches around North Head encompassing the inner Waitemata harbour right up to Auckland’s iconic harbour bridge and downtown CBD, across Auckland’s Eastern Suburbs and all the way out the Tamaki Strait between Waiheke Island and Maraetai.
“We need to define a wide racing area to cater for all wind and tide directions and conditions which we have done across the racing area.” Dalton continued.
“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, and we are incredibly lucky to have both North Head and Bastion Point where the public will literally be able to hear the AC75 whistling above the water and see the wind shifts on the water without having to set foot on a boat.”
“In saying this, catering to the huge expected spectator fleet does provide its own challenges, but we have been working closely with the Harbour Master and all related agencies that have fully bought into the objectives and to do everything we can to make this America’s Cup the most inclusive and spectator friendly America’s Cup ever.”
There has been specific consideration given to the ideal time of day for racing to start. A tentative race time window estimated between 1600- 1800 local time in order for a typical March sea breeze to reliably establish itself across the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf racecourses based on a leg length of between 1.3- 2.2nm.
Along with the proximity to public, consideration has been given to minimizing race day cancellations due to too much wind or swell as was seen in AC34 in San Francisco.
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.
The definitive race distance will depend on the wind speed and selected race course each day with an anticipated 35-minute race duration, including Pre-Start, based on a typical windward-leeward configuration with potential for a dramatic final reaching leg to the finish line.
“Having the race course so close to the coast will give spectators the opportunity to follow the racing even from the shore with the spectacular backdrop of Auckland – The City of Sails! We cannot wait to get started!”
Team Director & Skipper
"It’s great to back in Cowes, where the America’s Cup started. 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 INEOS TEAM UK set our strategy for when we are building and launching our race boats. "
Sir Ben Ainslie
Team Principal & Skipper
“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. Today is a huge day for the 36th America’s Cup.”
Executive Director & Skipper