Emirates Team New Zealand are gearing up for the first Preliminary Regatta of the 37th America’s Cup, to be contested later this week in Vilanova i La Geltrú.
It marks the first occasion of competitive racing since the team successfully defended the 36th America’s Cup in March 2021. However, this time the racing will be in the dynamic 4 person, AC40 foiling monohulls involving all six competing teams lining up collectively on the start line to battle it out on the Mediterranean.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s sailing line-up features the familiar faces of Peter Burling as Skipper and Helmsman, Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney as trimmers and the first time Nathan Outteridge will race officially for the kiwi team in competitive America’s Cup racing.
Josh Junior and Sam Meech will provide backup as reserve sailors for the team.
“It has been a very busy couple of months for the team here in Barcelona, but when you stop to think about the milestone of finally getting racing again, it’s a pretty significant occasion.” Explained Skipper Peter Burling.
The new AC40 class, which will be used for the Puig Women’s America’s Cup and Youth America’s Cup in 2024 was designed by Emirates Team New Zealand and built by McConaghy’s yachts, with 9 AC40’s now on the water across all of the America’s Cup teams.
Six of those will be lining up for Official Practice Racing on Thursday 14th, and then three days of Official racing.
Friday 15th & Saturday 16th will feature 3 fleet races, and on Sunday 17th, two remaining fleet races will decide the top two teams who will face off in a one-off match race to find the winner of the first Preliminary regatta.
“Looking across the fleet I think it has to be the strongest line up of sailors we have seen in a very long time and this if the first chance we get to face off this cycle, we get such limited time to race one another making every race critical for development of the sailing team. And the effort every team had been putting in to be ready for this event has shown that.” said Burling.
“We are now just over one year from the start of racing in Barcelona, so regattas like this are key to see how the sailing teams are developing.
“To win this regatta it is going to take a consistent high level of sailing. As the boats are one design in certain conditions that mean the performance difference between the boats will be really small and we expect the racing to be really close. It also depends on what conditions we get in Vilanova with big waves requiring a very different skillset to flatwater.”
Racing in Vilanova is between 15:30- 17:30 local time / 01:00- 03:00 NZT and can be watched live and delayed on America’s Cup YouTube channel.