America’s Cup teams are returning to the water nearly two months after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shutdown. After a mandatory five-week lockdown was lifted recently, defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand returned to training on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbor with its half-size test boat, Te Kahu (The Hawk).
By Monday or Tuesday, the New York Yacht Club’s yacht Defiant and the accompanying containers and chase boats will be headed from Pensacola, Florida, to Auckland on a 500-foot ship. American Magic will be the first of the three challengers to arrive in Auckland, sometime in early to mid-June. The other two challengers, INEOS Team UK, headed by Sir Ben Ainslie, and Italy’s Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, are expected to train at their home bases through the summer, operating within safety protocols.
In mid-March, officials canceled the America’s Cup World Series opener that had been scheduled for late April in Cagliari on Sardinia. About 10 days later, officials also cancelled an ACWS stop set for early June in Portsmouth, England.
The final ACWS regatta is scheduled for Dec. 17-20 in Auckland. The Prada Cup for challengers is set for Jan. 15-Feb. 22, with the winner advancing to face Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup March 6-21.
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