America’s Cup, what’s going on? Here’s what the teams are doing. PHOTOS and VIDEO

A long-distance comparison between Team New Zealand and American Magic.

“Take home to Auckland” we had headlined on June 26, 2017 after Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup in Bermuda. And now it is truly time for the challenger teams of the next America’s Cup to “pitch their tents” in the southern hemisphere. What is happening in these weeks in the America’s Cup? What are Luna Rossa, Team New Zealand, Ineos Team UK, American Magic and the now “ghost” challenger Stars&Stripes doing ?

And again, how will the demands of the Cup be reconciled with the pandemic factor? For a long time New Zealand has been a country sufficiently sheltered from the Corona Virus, in the last month the situation has changed slightly, and now for some time 14-day quarantine is mandatory to enter the country. Not exactly a no-brainer for those coming in from outside as an audience and an operational problem for teams. The America’s Cup World Series is scheduled from December 17 to 20, the Prada Cup (the challenger selection) from January 15 to February 22. The America’s Cup proper is scheduled from March 6 to 21. Will these dates be met? Rumors of a postponement, or rather postponement, of all windows by at least a month are not far-fetched. Any postponement, by Cup protocol, could be decided by agreement between the defender, Team New Zealand, and the challenge of record Luna Rossa.


The “Lunatics” have officially said goodbye to Cagliari (will it just be goodbye?), and preparations for the base in Auckland are now in the final stages. Boat 1 has been shipped and is on its way to New Zealand. By contrast, there is no word yet on boat 2, which is expected to be at a very advanced stage of construction at Persico Marine and to reach New Zealand certainly within the year. Luna Rossa is the last of the teams that will reach Auckland, the Italian team has in fact decided to continue its stay in Sardinia probably to stay away from prying eyes and to have no other breaks, at this stage of preparation, after the long lock down, given the mandatory quarantine in New Zealand. According to some rumors, Luna Rossa’s Boat 1 was one of the most successful, along with the Kiwis, of this first generation of AC 75s. So there is a lot of curiosity to try to understand how different boat 2 will be from the first one and what the growth curve of the second project is compared to boat 1.


One can hardly say that this is the most serene period for the Cup defender. While on paper the Kiwis remain the favorites, there are not a few problems, especially organizational ones, facing the team. Sponsor difficulties in times of pandemic, pressure from the New Zealand government to fund part of the Cup, “distractions” that make the trophy holders’ approach to the first official regattas less serene. Indeed, for these very reasons, there was also no shortage of rumors of a postponement that Team New Zealand was beginning to think about. Problems aside, the Kiwis remain the clear favorites with an extremely convincing Boat 1 shown, in official videos, to be very comfortable in various weather conditions, even in decidedly strong winds.


We would not want to be in the shoes of the British design team, since in fact Britannia seems to be the slowest and least successful boat of all the AC 75s launched. Witness also the running modification, the small “keel,” modeled after Luna Rossa’s but not originally conceived, that appeared under the British hull in recent months. Impressions of the famous overtaking in the Gulf of Cagliari, exclusively reported by the Giornale della Vela, by Luna Rossa were not wrong. There is talk of a Boat 2 that team sources have described as “radically” different from Boat 1, after all, for Ineos it has never been a budget issue being probably the team with the largest budget.


They were the first to arrive in New Zealand, where boat 2, which will be called Patriot, has already arrived. Americans are also the first to have crossed kiwis in water, albeit from a distance. A scuffle by the Americans is also recorded in this regard, which was quickly and smoothly resolved. Certainly American Magic is a team to be held in high regard, but some of the reasoning made for the British applies to them as well.

Patriot’s arrival in Auckland after airlift.
The two AC 75s in front of American Magic’s base in Auckland.

The classic boom in place of the “hidden” boom of Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand, the completely flat keel, and the boat while not having the speed deficits from which the Britannia is rumored to suffer is quite different from the two AC 75s that currently seem to be more successful from a design standpoint. It is also legitimate to expect important news from Boat 2.


It is about the real phantom challenger of this Cup. They have never officially paid the entry fee, nothing is known about the eventual start of boat construction, in fact it is a team that does not exist. There has been talk about them again regarding the possibility of chartering boat 1 of the New Zealanders to take part in the ACWS. An attempt for Team New Zealand to cash in? In fact a borderline transaction if it were to go through, but it seems destined to remain only a summer suggestion. One more challenger, almost fictitious to boot, would change the story of this Cup’s appeal little. If show will be, the three challengers and the defender will do it. Otherwise, the risk of flop would become real.

Mauro Giuffrè


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