Despite its relatively low profile during the lead-up, the Road to the America’s Cup regatta which starts today (Monday), will see one of the biggest spectator gatherings on Auckland Harbour this year
Despite its relatively low profile during the lead-up, the Road to the America’s Cup regatta which starts today (Monday), will see one of the biggest spectator gatherings on Auckland Harbour this year. A total of four teams including GBR Challenge, the Swedish Victory Challenge, the American One World challenge, and Team New Zealand will be on the start line to compete in a week’s long regatta run on a similar format to last year’s America’s Cup Jubilee Regatta in Cowes. The event will kick off with two days of fleet racing (two races per day), a lay day on Wednesday followed by two days of match racing (two races per day) taking in four legs of the America’s Cup course. Match racing will continue on Saturday with two more races, concluding with a harbour race on Sunday.
While it will be interesting to see how the brand-new Victory Challenge Swedish yacht performs for the first time on the race course, the most significant thing about the regatta is the change of event format which now allows the Cup holder to compete in the week-long series with the challengers. The format for previous years was for the Cup holder to only be able to race against the top challenger on the final day of the regatta.
The three challenger syndicates racing are from
- America, OneWorld Challenge, representing the Seattle Yacht Club. OneWorld will be skippered by Peter Gilmour and the team will be sailing USA-55 (ex-Stars & Stripes ’99)
- Sweden, Victory Challenge, representing the Gamla Stans Yacht Sällskap. The Victory Challenge skipper is Mats Johansson and he will sail the team’s brand-new boat Örn (SWE-63)
- United Kingdom, GBR Challenge, representing the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Skippered by Ian Walker the syndicate will use Idaten (GBR-52)
All three teams will sail against the successful Defender of the last America’s Cup, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Team New Zealand (NZL-60). The Kiwi boat will be skippered by Dean Barker. This regatta will probably be the last time this famous yacht is used in international competition by Team New Zealand.