Showtime in the Red Sea

Published on November 30th, 2023

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (November 30, 2023) – The gathering of members at New York Yacht Club to watch the America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta sat in silence. It was unimaginable that their American Magic team, after winning the previous event, could have failed any worse on the first day of competition.

OCS in all three races, and breaking other rules for the umpires to halt their start for two of them. They finished one race… in last. Shocker!

But then a giggle emanated from a corner of the room, gaining strength as more got the joke. The club’s team, which had petitioned to not compete due to terrorism concerns, was getting the last laugh. Forced to attend, as the Kingdom had paid the New Zealand defender for a proper show of six America’s Cup entrants, chose not to play ball.

Said skipper Tom Slingsby afterwards, “I don’t think I’ve had a day like that before.” Wink.

After the Italians had back-up helms parading their AC40 around the course, the USA opted to just flop for this mandatory showcase. In fairness, it wasn’t a hard act as the wind was barely over the 6.5 knot requirement, and falling off the foils proved popular in the fleet. However, the USA was the only team to do so before the start. Bravo!

While the Americans were winning their Academy Award, the announcers were struggling to make sense of it. It was a pity they weren’t in on the joke… almost felt sorry for them. And while the other five teams distributed their post-race press releases, Team USA only shared on Facebook that it was “a tough day on the water…” Wink wink!

Three more races are scheduled for December 1 before the third day has two further fleet races that will determine the top two teams to qualify for the winner-take-all final Match Race to decide the ultimate winner of the event.

Day One Results:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 1-1-5, 22 points
2. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA): 3-4-1, 18
3. Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI): 4-2-3, 15
4. INEOS Britannia (GBR): 2-3-4, 15
5. Orient Express Racing Team (FRA): 5-5-2, 11
6. NYYC American Magic (USA): DSQ-6-DNS, 1


Editor’s note: The results are correct, but most everything else in this report is fantasy, though in the long tradition of America’s Cup shenanigans, we wish it was not. Slingsby’s full quote afterwards: “A really tough day, I don’t think I’ve had a day like that before. I don’t know what to say, we’re frustrated, embarrassed, it’s not good enough and we need to do a better job. We know we can sail better than that. We’re still the team that won in Vilanova, but we made mistakes today and we’ve got to make sure we learn from them and don’t make them again.”

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 2 (AC40): Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
August 2024 (AC75): Barcelona, Spain

2024 America’s Cup
August 29-October 7: Challenger Selection Series
October 12 – ?: 37th Match (Best of 13)

Additionally, 12 teams will compete in the 2024 Youth & Women’s America’s Cup.

Additional details:

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