Here's what you need to know about the PRADA America's Cup

20 December 2020

Whether you love sailing and yachts, or you have just been paying attention to the news and hubbub around town, there’s a good chance you’re aware of the upcoming PRADA America’s Cup. Given that the current champion and defender of the Cup is Emirates Team New Zealand from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, this upcoming America’s Cup is a point of pride and much anticipation for fans across the nation. If this sounds like it interests you, read on to learn all you need to know about the upcoming PRADA America’s Cup.

 

What is America’s Cup?

To start off with the most obvious question for those unfamiliar with this sporting scene, the America’s Cup is a sporting trophy in competitive yacht sailing, vied for by international teams on a declaration of challenge basis. The America’s Cup is also a piece of sporting history — it is the oldest trophy of international sporting, being first awarded in 1851. 

 

It is won through a sequence of racing events (regattas) where the best performing challenger will face off against the current defender (Emirates Team New Zealand) in a ‘one on one’ fashion in the America’s Cup Finals. The process starts with the America’s Cup World Series races, which is a friendly opportunity for all participants to race against each other, culminating in the winner of the Christmas Cup. The final challenger for the America’s Cup is selected through the following PRADA Cup regatta, and will also win the PRADA Cup itself.

 

The PRADA Cup follows a points structure, beginning with four round-robin tournaments, where each team has the opportunity to face each other, in this case consisting of three races for every round-robin match. Each win out of these 12 races counts for one point; the highest ranked team at the end of the round-robin matches will automatically be pushed forward into the PRADA Cup final match. To decide the other competitor in the PRADA Cup finals, remaining teams will then compete in a seven race semi-final match to achieve the most points. 

 

The finals of the PRADA Cup will then be a series of one on one races, with the first team to achieve 7 points in the match crowned as the PRADA Cup winner, as well as receiving the position as Challenger to face off against Emirates Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup.

 

Essentially, the PRADA Cup is a tournament used to eliminate teams and determine who will challenge the current defender for the Cup itself in the America’s Cup Match. It is aptly named the PRADA Cup in honour of the presenting sponsor PRADA, a high-end Italian fashion house. This upcoming America’s Cup will be 36th event to date, and is scheduled to be held locally right in the Hauraki Gulf. 

 

Who’s competing?

Whilst you may know, and surely am proud to know, that the current defender is Emirates Team New Zealand, the other competitors in the upcoming regattas are also worthy teams with long-standing followings from fans. This upcoming PRADA Cup will host 3 challenger teams, each representing different nations.

 

The ‘challenger of record’, the initial challenger for the America’s Cup which has initiated this 36th event, is the Italian team Luna Rossa Challenge from yacht club Circolo della Vela Sicilia. American Magic, an American team from the New York Yacht Club is also competing, alongside British team Ineos Team UK from the Royal Yacht Squadron. 

 

All clubs hold a long history in the America’s Cup, raising the bar for this upcoming match against Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Luna Rossa Challenge is an underdog challenger team having lost to Team New Zealand in the 2000 America’s Cup and 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup, but have collected a seasoned team of veterans to change the record now. American Magic is backed by the most strong sporting history, as the New York Yacht Club had won the America’s Cup in 1851 and held it continuously until 1983, no stranger to the races. Across the pond, Ineos Team UK is led by team principal Ben Ainslie, known as the most successful Olympic sailor with four gold medals and one silver medal to his name, alongside a wealth of sailing championship titles.

 

When is the upcoming PRADA America’s Cup?

Prior to the PRADA Cup which kicks off the true competition for the America’s Cup, the PRADA America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) and PRADA Christmas Cup will be held to allow teams to begin racing against each other, as well as get used to the conditions of the Hauraki Gulf courses.

 

The PRADA ACWS starts on the 17th of December and runs through to the 19th of December, with four races each day for a total of 12. Time of races are dependent on weather between the times of 15:00 to 18:00, but the four races for each day are scheduled to start at 3:12pm, 3:50pm, 4:40pm and 5:20pm respectively. 

 

The PRADA Christmas Race for the Christmas Cup is held on the 20th of December, consisting of four races just like in the ACWS, with race times tentatively assigned within the period of 3pm to 6pm. Further information can be found on the official race website, such as the exact race format and courses, located here.

 

The PRADA Cup series which will determines challenger selection is held much later beginning on the 15th of January, with all races held between the times of 16:00 to 18:00 (4pm to 6pm). The four round-robin matches are to be held from the 15th to the 24th of January, followed by the semi-finals held from the 29th of January through to the 2nd of February. The PRADA Cup finals will be held from the 13th of February and is scheduled to end 24th of February at the latest, crowning the final challenger for the America’s Cup Match. Racing days and further information on the schedule can be found at the PRADA Cup website here.

 

The 36th America’s Cup regatta to top off the summer’s races will be held between the 6th of March to the 21st of March, with intentions to end by the 14th of March if the weather has been favourable. Further information and updates on the races can be found here.

 

Where can I go to watch? 

If you are looking to watch the America’s Cup races live, there are many options: watch it on television, watch it online, watch it in person at the harbour, or watch it on the water. The races will be broadcasted on TVNZ in New Zealand, alongside online live coverage on YouTube, Facebook and the official website americascup.com. Many on land viewing sites have been scoped out beforehand and are detailed by the organiser, mostly at coastal beaches in the North Shore such as Takapuna, Milford and Devonport, as well as along the central Auckland coastline such as at Mission Bay and Saint Heliers. If you’ve got your own watercraft and would like to view the action live on the water, head nearby the racecourses and find yourself an allowed spot marked by buoys, detailed further here. Otherwise, make sure to visit the free Race Village located along the Viaduct and Wharf in Auckland CBD for various performances and experiences, and partake in the buzz of the event.

 

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Plan ahead and get out there to support your favourite team, as this will no doubt be another historic America’s Cup to be a part of. Go Emirates Team New Zealand!!!

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