America’s Cup: Painting the picture

Published on January 2nd, 2021

Matthew Sheahan, who hosts the PlanetSail sailing channel on YouTube, is in New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup. With the Challenger Selection series to begin January 15, Sheahan shares a sentiment from the venue:

It’s a surreal experience down here in Auckland. Aside from having to wear masks on public transport, life is normal. The bars have been full, the streets and beaches bustling, the weather has been scorching, the scenery outstanding, and the prospect of three months of racing mouthwatering.

Taken in isolation from current world events, these are exciting times and while the 36th America’s Cup may only have three Challengers, they are three quality teams and you won’t hear anyone down hear grumbling about that. Instead, the AC World Series before Christmas demonstrated that close racing is on the menu. (I know what you’re thinking…but standby…I think there’s more to come from the British).

There is so much to report on from here and yet it’s hard to know where to draw the line without looking inconsiderate and insensitive. It’s especially tricky outside of the racing.

How to paint the picture of a country that is basking in a spectacular summer and a city that is celebrating its achievement in being able to put on a show that seemed impossible just a year ago without looking like we’re rubbing it in.

New Zealanders know how lucky they are and they also know how fragile their own national defenses are. The border between holding back COVID-19 and seeing it break through to run rife through this small country is strictly policed, but no one is in any doubt as to how easily things could change.

Kiwis may appear to be living life to the full and they are, but they are also fully aware of what is happening in the rest of the world and continue to worry about it.

So, while it’s easy to appreciate just how unbelievably lucky and privileged those of us that are here are, it is also hard not to feel guilty when the rest of the world and the loved ones that have been left at home struggle to cope with this horrendous pandemic.

Every time I send pictures back to my own family, who have specifically asked to see what life is like down here, a part of me feels bad about appearing to rub it in.

It’s hard to feel happy about living the dream while loved ones are stuck in a nightmare. It is a surreal experience and not one that I had anticipated before coming and at times has hit me harder than I had expected.

Setting that aside and on the work front, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support particularly with PlanetSail. 2020 was an outstanding year, subscriptions have soared, and viewing figures are rocketing towards 3 million. And there’s only one way that this happened, you, so thank you.


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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