After over three years of waiting, the wins, the loses and the points will really start to count. The PRADA Cup is set to start on January 15 with the three Challengers competing to qualify to race against the America’s Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup Match.
The PRADA Cup consists of 17 racing days starting with a multiple Round Robin format where the three Challengers – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, New York Yacht Club American Magic and INEOS TEAM UK face off each other for four times.
The team with the most points at the end of the Round Robins moves directly to the PRADA Cup Final, while the remaining two teams compete in a best of seven wins, head-to-head, Semi-Final between 29 January and 2 February.
The PRADA Cup Final, from 13-22 February, is a best of thirteen race series where the first team to reach seven wins will win the exquisite PRADA Cup trophy and be awarded the rights to be the Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA and to race the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand.
Therefore, to win the America’s Cup, first you have to win the PRADA Cup.
The excitement after the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland is tangible among the New Zealand public. The match-races were fiercely contested and attracted plenty of supporters interests both ashore and on the water. The racing in December was crucially important to all of the teams and has revealed a great deal about their relative strengths and weaknesses. Each of the Challengers have been working relentlessly during the Christmas break to make changes and improvements to their AC75s and there is great anticipation to see them racing again now that the stakes are much higher.
Two races per day are scheduled during the PRADA Cup, the race window between 15:00 – 18:00 NZT with the exception of the Final’s races which will be between 16:00 – 18:00 NZT
The racecourse will be a windward-leeward configuration outlined by boundaries with an upwind start and its length (approximately between 1.1 to 2.2 nm) will depend upon the exact location of the course and prevailing weather conditions. The permitted wind range is between 6.5 and 21 knots for the Round Robins and the Semi-finals and between 6.5 and 23 knots for the PRADA Cup Final.
The course on which the teams will sail, will be decided every racing day by the Race Management and detailed information for on water spectator will be available on americascup.com.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Challenger of Record
On the 26th of June 2017, immediately after the final race of the 35th America’s Cup, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron received and accepted a Notice of Challenge from Circolo della Vela Sicilia, thus its team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team officially became the Challenger of Record of the 36th America’s Cup. The team, established in 1997 by Patrizio Bertelli, CEO of the PRADA Group, is now at their sixth attempt to win the America’s Cup and is led by two times Cup winner Skipper and Team Director Max Sirena.
New York Yacht Club American Magic
Formed in October 2017 by Bella Mente Racing, Quantum Racing and the New York Yacht Club, American Magic represents a joint vision to win the America’s Cup.
The team brings together two highly successful racing programs with one of the foremost yacht clubs in the world. The name, American Magic, is a nod to the New York Yacht Club’s storied America’s Cup history; a combination of the boat the trophy is named for, and the first boat to defend it.
INEOS TEAM UK
INEOS TEAM UK was formed in 2018 to bring the America’s Cup home to Britain and will race for Royal Yacht Squadron Racing that is regarded as one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world. Before relocating to New Zealand, the team was based in Old Portsmouth, led and backed by INEOS Founder and Chairman, Jim Ratcliffe. Sir Ben Ainslie, a previous America’s Cup winner (AC34) and the most successful Olympic sailor of all time is the Team Principal and Skipper.