NZL wins America’s Cup Prelim Regatta

Published on December 2nd, 2023

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (December 2, 2023) – The America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta Jeddah finished as it started, with Team New Zealand dominating the 6-boat field, consistently showing how their additional experience in the AC40 translates to better performance on the race course.

After American Magic tragically stumbled on the first day of racing, they matched the scores with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team for the next two days, but it was the Italians that advanced to the Match Race Final, though issues with their boat’s electronics due to the heat plagued their effort.

After entering the start-box late, Emirates Team New Zealand had the upper hand which they capitalised on to lead off the start line. However, it remained close around the course until the final windward mark, where on a bear-away, the Italians got high and with the rudder exiting the water, a nose-dive splashdown ended their race.

Kiwi defender of Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Blair Tuke, and Andy Maloney remain the measure for the challengers to chase, but back-up Italian helms of 19 year old Marco Gradoni and 31-year old Olympic Gold medallist Ruggero Tita proved more than able to share the stage. Italy’s starters Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni are going to get pushed.

While the event has no direct bearing on the 37th America’s Cup, it was the second straight underwhelming performance by the Challenger of Record, INEOS Britannia. After finishing last in the first event, they admitted to being under-prepared but little progress has been made in 2+ months. Are Finn sailors Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott and team helms able to play at this fast-paced game? Time will tell…

Format: Three fleet races were held on the first two days before the third day had two further fleet races, with the results from the eight races to determine the top two teams for the winner-take-all final Match Race to decide the ultimate winner of the event.

Final Results:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 1-1-5-2-1-1-3-1, 64 points
2. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA): 3-4-1-1-2-4-1-DNF, 49
3. Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI): 4-2-3-5-3-3-6-2, 35
4. NYYC American Magic (USA): DSQ-6-DNS-3-4-2-2-3, 28
5. INEOS Britannia (GBR): 2-3-4-4-5-5-5-5, 26
6. Orient Express Racing Team (FRA): 5-5-2-6-6-6-4-4, 20


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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