Sunday 20th December 2020. For four days Auckland set the stage for the Prada America’s Cup World Series (ACWS), a challenge that allowed the four teams (Americans, British, Italians and New Zealanders) to race each other for the first time on their revolutionary 75-foot, foiling monohull AC-75s. And title holders the Kiwis made a big impression.

After a three-day Round Robin, the Defenders cracked open the champagne after a nail-biting victory in the last race. Emirates Team New Zealand, whose Team Principal is Yacht Club de Monaco member on its Management Committee, Matteo de Nora, crossed the finish 16 seconds ahead of the Italians on Luna Rossa of Patrizio Bertelli, also a YCM member.



However, lack of wind on the next day, dubbed the Christmas Regatta, forced organisers to cut short a duel between Emirates Team New Zealand whose CEO is YCM member Grant Dalton, and Team Ineos UK that the Kiwis were winning. Separated by 5km when the race was called off, the British boat led by four-time gold medallist Ben Ainslie was well out of the race.

As a result the Kiwis won these pre-America’s Cup races with five wins and one defeat.

The three challengers meet again in January for the Prada Cup. The winners will face Emirates Team New Zealand at the 36th America’s Cup which takes place 6-21 March when the world’s oldest sports trophy celebrates its 170th anniversary.