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What you need to know to get in on the PRADA Cup action this weekend 

Published: 14 January 2021

With four days of America’s Cup action under Auckland’s belt, the city is gearing up to host the next event of the racing cycle on 15 January: the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series, a five-week-long racing spectacle to determine who will take on Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup Match in March. 

But the on-water racing is just the start of the excitement in store for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland as the city kicks off the New Year.

Summernova, Auckland Unlimited’s summer festival series designed to coincide with the 36th America’s Cup, will deliver a stellar line-up of events across the region complemented by annual favourites, including Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, Auckland Lantern Festival and more. Here’s what you need to know to start your summer off right.  

An insider’s guide to the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series 

From 15 January to 22 February, The PRADA Cup will consist of four round robins of three races each, a seven-race Semi-Final series and 13-race Final between the two leading teams. Each win earns one point, with the first to earn seven points in the Final series winning the PRADA Cup and progressing to the Match.

Scheduled racing days include:

  • 15–17 January Round Robins 1 & 2 (racing between 3pm-5pm),
  • 22–24 January Round Robins 3 & 4 (racing between 3pm-5pm),
  • 29–31 January, 2 February Semi-Finals (racing between 3pm-5pm), and
  • 13–14 Feb, 17 Feb, 19–22 Feb Finals (racing between 4pm-6pm).

Reserve dates are also in place should a race not be able to take place due to weather or other conditions. 

One of five designated course areas on the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf will be chosen each race day, with the Race Director’s decision having a significant bearing on on-land viewing options.

Course selections will be shared on a range of channels, including the official America’s Cup website and social media channels.

For further information including race schedule and how to watch, go to americascup.com

And of course, with the racing completely free to air on TVNZ 1, YouTube and the Official America’s Cup website, fans can also watch from activation sites and restaurants and bars across the city.

December racing saw thousands turn out on-land and on-water, with millions tuning on their screens across New Zealand and the world.

Delivered by the Challenger of Record, the PRADA Cup will offer racing fans the chance to see how New York Yacht Club American Magic, INEOS Team UK and Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli test the speed and precision of their AC75 yachts without the defender in the ring.  

As Francesco Longanesi Cattani, Challenger of Record 36 Chief Executive Officer Representative and Title Sponsor Liaison explains, the event will show who has what it takes to win the oldest trophy in international sport.

 “To win the America’s Cup first you have to win the PRADA Cup; if the first win will be extremely difficult, the latter won’t be easy,” says Cattani.

“The three challengers are all very strong. What we learned during the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland is that these extremely talented sailors have rapidly become confident in racing their AC75s to offer very exciting, close racing.

"All this is very promising, and I believe everybody is looking forward to a Challenger Selection Series that’s a close battle to win the PRADA Cup,” Cattani says.

What’s on in Auckland outside of the racing

Summernova will also bring the heat to Auckland this summer, with a stellar line-up of more than 20 events spreading the thrill and vibrancy of the 36th America’s Cup throughout the region.

The programme of food and wine festivals, live music, arts and cultural showcases, sporting events and more will help to broaden the event experience and ensure everyone can get in on the action, says Auckland Unlimited General Manager Destination Steve Armitage.

“It’s been a pleasure for Auckland Unlimited to partner with some of the region’s leading event organisers and community groups to deliver a festival programme that celebrates our creative industries and everything that makes our Tāmaki Makaurau unique," he says.

During the PRADA Cup racing window (15 Jan – 22 Feb), Summernova will ensure there’s never a dull moment in the city, with events including:

Two of Auckland’s biggest cultural festivals will add to the festivities on the waterfront, with Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival (23 Jan) and Auckland Lantern Festival (25–28 Feb) both taking place in the heart of the city with fantastic views of the Waitematā, Rangitoto and Auckland city centre.

Both events are delivered by Auckland Unlimited, the region’s cultural and economic agency, on behalf of Auckland Council.

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