PRADA Cup 15th January to 22nd February 2021


Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday 23rd January 2021. They did it! The British Ineos Team UK of Yacht Club de Monaco member Sir James Ratcliffe won the Round Robin to qualify for the PRADA Cup finals. Led by the brilliant five-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Ben Ainslie, the British team flew over the New Zealand course on their AC75. It was a hard-won victory after a final nail-biting duel with the Italians on YCM member Patrizio Bertelli’s Luna Rossa and will be remembered for many reasons.


Thrilling race

The stats tell the story with nine lead changes in the final decisive race, a battle of giants committed to every manoeuvre. A shifty wind, yet with top speeds exceeding the 50 knot mark, and gates rounded seconds apart, all the ingredients were there to make it a great day for sailing. The British jump straight to the Prada Cup finals after triumphing in the Round Robin with five race victories.



Organisers faced an unprecedented situation with the American team not able to complete the Round Robin as they were engaged in a race against the clock to repair their AC75 Patriot. In their race against the Italians on Sunday 17th January, the American Challenger capsized in a strong gust of wind round the mark putting a not insignificant hole in the hull and damaging the electronics.

The extent of the damage was not without consequences for the whole regatta. To comply with the regulations, “ghost races” lasting a few minutes were introduced on Saturday 23rd January for the two teams still sailing (Luna Rossa and Ineos Team UK) to confront the absent Challenger.


Who will face Ineos Team UK?

The Italians on Luna Rossa will have to wait a few days before doing battle with the Americans who are repairing their boat. Seven races over four days (29, 30, 31 January and 2 February) are scheduled between the two Challengers. The winner of this semi-final will face the British Ineos Team UK at the PRADA Cup finals (13-22 February) with 13 races on the programme.

The winner faces the Defender Team New Zealand at the America’s Cup event itself, which runs from 6-21 March 2021. The Kiwi title-holders, whose Managing Director Matteo de Nora is on the Yacht Club de Monaco’s Management Committee, continue to sail every day and are making use of the time to test a new pair of foils.