Set to be stand-out global events, the Women’s & Youth America’s Cup Regattas are two of the major highlights of AC37 in Barcelona, shining an intense spotlight on the next generation of America’s Cup sailors. It is the ultimate showcase for tomorrow’s household names and superstars of the sailing world’s most storied prize and with the Notice of Race having been published back on the 1st November 2022, formal invitations to yacht clubs around the world are being sent out from 1st February 2023 onwards.
To date, expressions of interest have been strong with yacht clubs from some thirteen different countries enquiring, some with established pools of Women’s and Youth talent, others with start up teams looking to step up into the big time in one or both of the events.
With the six confirmed teams competing in the America’s Cup sealing the first six places in the Women’s & Youth events, the organisers have offered six remaining places in each event. Initial invitations are being sent to three teams that have registered interest for both regattas with strong and experienced challenges: Those entries are the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club of Canada with AC40 Team Canada as their team; a joint entry from the Royal Netherlands Yacht Club and the Royal Maas Yacht Club of the Netherlands with their team DutchSail ; and the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona of Spain, the host country of AC37, with Sail Team BCN.
That will leave three slots in the Youth America’s Cup and three in the Women’s America’s Cup and further invitations will be issued once an analysis of the remaining Expressions of Interest is complete.
Speaking about the entries, Grant Dalton, CEO of America’s Cup Event commented: “These two events are going to be a festival of sailing for the finest female and youth sailors on the planet and I’ve been delighted with the response to the Notice of Race with a lot of very interesting teams from emerging nations forming all around the world. Now it’s a case of securing the slot and encouraging the new breed of foiling talent to put it on the line in Barcelona and show the world what they’ve got. The profile will be considerable, and I can certainly feel the enthusiasm that’s building around these events.”
Racing will take place in the AC40s that have proven, straight out of the box, to be possibly the most exciting 40-foot boats on the planet to sail. They are full-on foiling race boats that lean on the most modern technologies but will be sailed in the strictest one-design format with every component equalised and even crew weight regulated to provide a true test of talent for the Women’s & Youth teams. Shoreside, the teams will be based at Port Olimpic in the heart of the Barcelona beachfront, which will be the perfect venue for the public to get close to the athletes and promises to be a very vibrant focal point of the America’s Cup through September and October 2024.
The format for the Women’s & Youth America’s Cup events is set to thoroughly test the athletes with a mixture of fleet and match racing. Where possible the fleets will be split with the confirmed teams for AC37 forming one pool for each event and the invited yacht club teams competing in another pool. The racing initially will be three fleet races a day for three days and then the top three teams in each qualify for a four-race series amongst the top six teams to decide the top two. These successful teams will then go head-to-head in a classic match-race, one-on-one fashion to decide the outright winner of each event.
And as Grant Dalton says: “To win the Women’s or Youth America’s Cup, teams are going to have to display incredible team-work, race-craft and foiling ability. It’s an entry into the rarefied world of the America’s Cup and for sure, these sailors in the Women’s and Youth event will be in high demand by the AC teams in future events. It’s a fantastic platform for the next generation and I urge the teams that have now received invitations to make the most of what promises to be a spectacle like no other for their Women’s & Youth programmes.”