Next up, the PRADA Christmas Race

Published on December 19th, 2020

Auckland, New Zealand (December 19, 2020) – With the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland now complete and the winner crowned, the final stage of racing for 2020 changes gear with the PRADA Christmas Race, scheduled for Sunday, December 20. This is a knockout series comprising two semifinals and a pair of finals.

On the water the racing will look much the same as the previous three days, but unlike the round robins, this is a knockout event. As a complete four day package the two events provide a compressed snapshot of the full process next year.

But however you look at it, the racing remains crucially important to all four of the teams and has revealed a great deal about their relative strengths and weaknesses. For American Magic, the previous three days have shown that, based on points, they are the quickest of the Challengers. Plus, they’re the only ones to have beaten the Defenders so far. Furthermore, Terry Hutchinson’s team have demonstrated that they can deliver over a reasonably wide range of conditions despite some apparent self-doubt about their speed in light conditions.

A similar picture has emerged for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, albeit without managing to beat Emirates Team New Zealand, despite coming extremely close in the final race of the PRADA ACWS Auckland. Their ability to perform near flawless maneuvers under pressure thanks to their unique dual helmsman configuration has been a talking point and appears to have given the team an edge in tight situations. They too look slippery in the light and perhaps most crucially, able to match the Defenders in their ability to take off in light weather.

Sadly, this has not been the case for INEOS TEAM UK who have had serious problems with getting onto their foils or staying there when the breeze drops.

Ironically, for a team that had a deeply frustrating third day where they failed to finish both races, they were the fastest boat in a straight line with a top speed yesterday of 43.3knots. (Interestingly American Magic was the slowest). Once the breeze is above a certain threshold Sir Ben Ainslie’s team shows signs of being able to match the others, but there is clearly a great deal of work to do.

For Emirates Team New Zealand today is also crucially important. This is the last time that they will get to race against the three Challengers. The next time they line up on the race course it will be for real in the America’s Cup in March. By then they will be facing the strongest of the Challengers in the fight for the world’s oldest international sporting trophy. A Challenger who will have undoubtedly raised their game in the battle to gain the coveted place.

Emirates Team New Zealand know the process well, having been Challengers themselves in the last America’s Cup in Bermuda and while the end result will be the same in that they will be on the start line for the America’s Cup, they will be wearing a different hat.

But for all the relative performances among the teams, the weather conditions today look likely to take all four into new territory in a live racing environment.

“Depending on which weather model you look at shows a slight variation in the wind speeds that we can expect today,” explained Regatta Director Iain Murray. “Overall, we are looking at 4 knots at 3pm, building to 7-11 knots from around 040 by 6pm. I think we will get races in; it’s just a question of how long we will have to wait. We do have a hard limit that requires us to clear the race course by 7pm in order to comply with the shipping requirements.”

Another day’s racing is another chance for more data, more analysis and more refinement for all. So, while the desire to get out there and race is clearly there across the fleet, it is the weather that might have the final say.

The PRADA Christmas Race is a knockout series comprising two semifinals and a pair of finals tomorrow with racing starting at 3:00 PM NZT weather permitting, exact start time published on The ACWS was held December 17-19, with the final result determining the initial pairings for the two stage Christmas Race on December 20.

America’s Cup detailsDecember 17-20 detailsResultsYouTubeTime converter

U.S. viewers can watch all racing live on NBC Sports Gold. NBC Sports Network and will carry most of the racing either live or with a time delay, and all races will be available on replay (see schedule). International viewers can watch racing live and on replay via the America’s Cup website and the America’s Cup YouTube channel (see details).

36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA) – WITHDRAWN
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition (CANCELLED)
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6, 2019 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10, 2019 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2, 2019 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4, 2019 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1
October 16, 2020 – American Magic (USA), Boat 2
October 17, 2020 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 2
October 20, 2020 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 2
November 19, 2020 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 2


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