USA wins America’s Cup Prelim Regatta
Published on September 17th, 2023
Vilanova i La Geltrú, Spain (September 17, 2023) – It was not the ideal opening act for the 37th America’s Cup, as winds proved mostly unfavorable for the foiling AC40, but NYYC American Magic adapted best to win over the other five teams in the first Preliminary Regatta.
Having come into the final day sitting in fifth place, it was an outside bet at best that NYYC American Magic could climb the leaderboard and challenge for a spot in the Match Race Grand Final.
But the America’s Cup is where the best sailors perform and the outstanding team of the day in Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Riley Gibbs, and Michael Menninger put on a masterclass of big-time regatta sailing, taking their chances, sailing unbelievably smoothly and scoring a three-race string of 2-1-1 to stun the rest of the fleet.
As the the top team on the leaderboard after fleet racing, USA advanced against the second placed New Zealand in the match race final, and took the trophy when the decreasing winds halted racing.
For many commentators who have watched NYYC American Magic in recent training sessions, it was no surprise to see the team perform. In Barcelona training sessions and all throughout the winter out at their winter training base in Florida, they have been steadily, incrementally improving under the watchful eye of Team Principle Terry Hutchinson and the coaching team led by Tom Burnham.
It was a much anticipated pairing in the Match Race Grand Final with USA ahead when the wind shut down and the time-limit for reaching the first mark was exceeded, thus giving the win to NYYC American Magic.
The limits on the AC40’s sailing ability in the lightest and strongest winds, combined with the time constraints due to live and broadcast spectating, proved to be significant obstacles to the event. Adjustments will be needed to avoid a repeat at the next event on November 30-December 3 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Among the shocker performance was from the Challenger of Record that finished last. “When I look at the overall program, clearly we’ve prioritized the testing side of things too much,” said Ben Ainslie, Helmsman INEOS Britannia. “We thought we could get away with not putting too much time in the AC40 and still be there or thereabouts. But what this highlight’s is that, just like in any other boat, you’ve got to be out there getting the hours in.
“We didn’t sail well, we didn’t put enough time in the boat and there were some other underlying issues in terms of our preparation time in the boat so you put those three together, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised with the result. But for any professional sporting team, it’s not okay to finish last.
“We are going to have a good debrief with Jeddah in a few months, what are we going to do to get ourselves more competitive for Jeddah but of course not completely take our focus off the test boat and making sure we have the fastest AC75 for next summer – that’s the balance that we’ve got to find and clearly we’ve set ourselves up to fail here which is tough.”
Racing in AC40s was held on September 15-17. Teams are mandated to participate but points from the Preliminary Regattas do not extend beyond the event.
Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup begins October 12, 2024.
Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
• INEOS Britannia (GBR)
• Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
• Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
• NYYC American Magic (USA)
• Orient Express Racing Team (FRA)
2023-24 Preliminary Regattas
September 14-17, 2023 (AC40): Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain
November 30-December 3 (AC40): Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
August 2024 (AC75): Barcelona, Spain
2024 America’s Cup
September: Challenger Selection Series
October 12 – ?: 37th Match (Best of 13)
Additionally, 12 teams will compete in the 2024 Youth & Women’s America’s Cup.