Starting today, three challengers for the America’s Cup will compete for the first ever PRADA Cup and the right to meet Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup Match.
The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series has given many special moments in America’s Cup racing history, and the battles have become a major part of the legend of the Cup.
The Cup is the significant first stage regatta of one the major International sporting event in the world this year.
“After three years of hard work, they are finally on the water, where speed, tactics and aggression will start to equate to success,” says a PRADA spokesperson.
The opening press conference on Thursday, with the participation of Patrizio Bertelli live from Tuscany, Italy, expressing his full commitment and passion in this great sailing competition.
Regatta Director Iain Murray says this year, everything is new.
“We see exciting young crews, and exciting boats and over the last couple of days I saw how they went away pre-Christmas and how they came back with thoughts and strategies and tactics.
“I’m starting to see match racing evolve, the aggression of the start coming to the surface.”
Team Principal and Skipper INEOS TEAM UK Sir Ben Ainslie says his team has been working flat out since the World Series.
“I give a huge amount of the credit to the likes of the shore team and the engineers. We talked about our performances on the wide range of the wind.
“We got a long way down that road in terms of improvements, there are a lot more to come.
“Other teams are also improving and everyday they come up with outbreak to their boats. We can be certainly competitive in the medium-strong wind range, the lighter race we still don’t know.”
Skipper and Executive Director New York Yacht Club American Magic Terry Hutcthinson says the America’s Cup World Series is in the past and they are looking forward to the future.
“All the challengers have been seen to make steps behind that, as well the defender, our focus is really to the next month of racing.
“From our prospective we got four races, it will be good to see the performance on the day, but it will be also good to see everybody’s improvement.”
Team Director Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team Challenger of Record Max Sirena says they have always said that the development of their boat keeps going throughout the next few months.
“There will be few stuff coming on and I’m sure the other teams will do the same. Aerodynamics is everything when you are going over 50knots. Likely, every change we did have been very good so far, we are very pleased with that, and with the design that allowed those changes.”
CEO PRADA Group CEO Patrizio Bertelli says they are surely satisfied of the beginning of the Prada Cup, although sad for the world’s global situation.
“You are privileged to be in Auckland, where you are able to walk around freely without masks, social distancing and other measures while here in Europe and in the United States the situation is quite different and still very serious.
“I therefore think that you have a commitment and a responsibility towards the world who is following you to deliver great sportsmanship and sporting event.
“I trust that you will do so. In Bermuda Matteo de Nora and Grant Dalton asked us to be involved again. I thought it was a good opportunity to bring the America’s Cup back on track: the America’s Cup seemed to have owners and I don’t think the America’s Cup should have owners.
“It should have Defenders and Challengers, but it should be what it has always been. It’s a very sophisticated event, always sailed with very special boats, but first of all it’s a sporting event.
“We call it the Prada Cup today, it was called the Louis Vuitton Cup in the past, it might be called something else in the future, but what really matters is that we have one Defender and some Challengers.”