Tomorrow’s world - the Women’s & Youth America’s Cup
Women's and Youth America's Cup NoR released
Clear your diary. Set the date. The countdown has commenced for what promises to be one of the most exciting, innovative and ultimately consequential series of events of the 37th America’s Cup. The Notice of Race for the 2024 Women’s America’s Cup and Youth America’s Cup has been posted and firm plans can now be laid by prospective teams from around the world to compete in the glorious surrounds of Barcelona in 2024.
The rapidly re-vamping Port Olímpic, a short and pleasant stroll down the palm-lined promenade that stretches the length of Barcelona’s waterfront, is set to be the stunning new base for the future stars of the America’s Cup to begin their journey to winning the Holy Grail of world yachting. With wide-open boulevards, stunning architecture – and in the shadow of the famous Golden Fish ‘El Peix’ Frank Gehry sculpture that welcomes visitors at its entrance – the Port Olímpic ticks every box in terms of sustainability and accessibility, with promise of being a lively, youthful, vibrant heart of activity with direct access to the racecourse just yards off the beach.
The Women’s and Youth teams lucky enough to be selected will experience a regatta simply like no other placing them in the epicentre of the America’s Cup crucible of competition. Picture the scene as thousands watch from the beach and galleries dotted along the shoreline, millions more catching the free-to-air broadcast around the globe and helicopters circle above capturing the white-hot intensity of sailing in one of its purest forms, at its finest. This is the big time for sure.
As a stepping-stone on to AC75 teams post-2024 and a shop-window beyond comparison, the future of the America’s Cup will be showcased like never before. It’s the experience and opportunity of a lifetime to compete against the very best in the world in the brand new AC40 yachts and hone skills that will determine the future direction of the America’s Cup for decades to come. The importance of the Youth and Women’s America’s Cup regattas is not to be under-estimated.
Running sequentially, the Youth America’s Cup starts on Thursday 19th September 2024 and the Women’s America’s Cup on Thursday 3rd October 2024. Mark those dates. Both series begin with a week of practice for the teams before the fleets are split, where possible, into two with the confirmed AC Teams competing in one group and all the invited yacht clubs from around the world competing in another. Once racing begins in earnest, each group will race a Qualifying Series of fleet races, consisting of three races per day over three days to produce the top three podium teams from each group.
Those successful teams will then move forward to a ‘Final Series’ of four fleet races on one day to produce the top two teams who will advance on to the respective Youth and Women’s America’s Cup Single Matches to determine the respective winners.
With the pressure on, and the eyes of the world firmly focussed on these Single Match Races, it will be an entrée into the high-pressure world of America’s Cup racing with no margin for error. No second chances. Fleet racing will be replaced by one-on-one Match Racing and winning the Youth or Women’s America’s Cup will be an achievement of the highest order rewarding those teams that can bring a big game mentality and the ability to switch effortlessly between the very different disciplines of fleet and match racing.
And the scheduling announced by the organisers is set to ensure the maximum media coverage with the Youth America’s Cup Single Match Race being run on the same day as the showpiece America’s Cup Challenger Final on Wednesday 2nd October 2024 – and will be raced in-between the Final flights – whilst the Women’s America’s Cup Single Match Race will be held on Wednesday 16th October 2024, the date scheduled for two America’s Cup Match races and again between flights. The pressure will be at an intensity that only the America’s Cup can produce with teams thrust into the bright limelight at the business end of AC37. To be a part of it will be something else.
By design, this is set to be a global spectacle with national entries being restricted to one per country and as already stated by Sir Ben Ainslie of the INEOS Britannia team, they will be fielding a mixed Youth team for the regatta to further promote gender diversity and equality. It is hoped, but not explicitly implied, that others will follow suit. Each of the confirmed Teams for the 37th America’s Cup are required to ‘arrange for a team to be entered’ but this opens the door for prospective teams to liaise with the confirmed Competitor as to the selection process for who represents that Competitor’s yacht club.
Gillian Williams, Vice Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Chair of Sailing said, “We are thrilled to have a women’s team and a youth team, as well as ETNZ, represent RNZYS against the premier yachting nations of the world. The promotion of youth, diversity and excellence in yachting is very exciting.”
In addition, America’s Cup Event Limited, (ACE), the organising body for both series are intending to invite up to seven teams representing yacht clubs from countries other than those represented by a Competitor in the 37th America’s Cup. And again, it’s a strict criteria with ACE only accepting one entry per country in the Youth America’s Cup or Women’s America’s Cup, so competition for places looks set to be intense.
Already a local team has been created, representing the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona, Sail Team BCN, which will represent the city, the region and the country in both the Youth and Women’s America's Cup 2024. The team, that will be managed by professional sailor Guillermo Altadill and international teams' director Stewart Hosford, received the approval from America's Cup Management (ACE) and Emirates Team New Zealand to be the Spanish challenge in the 2024 event.