America's Cup: things get serious with the World Series
Things are getting serious now as the competitors race, get to know the new AC75 boats and strive for victory. The World Series races have arrived on the journey to the America's Cup 2021. Though nothing new in the calendar of the most prestigious sailing event in the world, this time the races will carry even greater significance, beginning with the fact that it will be a chance to see the new AC75 class in action, which insiders have defined as revolutionary. There is much anticipation on this front, as it's one thing to see these boats up close in training sessions or on film, and quite another to set them up at the start line. That alone would be enough to ensure a spectacular show for the general public. But, above all, this promises to be a vital moment for the teams, who have the opportunity to measure their performance and see how they stand in relation to the others. There will be five in total: the holders, the Emirates Team New Zealand, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, the British sailors of the Ineos Team UK and the Americans of the Stars & Stripes Team USA and American Magic.
Anticipation at Cagliari
The first stage of the World Series will take place in Cagliari from 23 to 26 April. While it is important for all the crews in the America's Cup, it holds special significance for the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, as they have chosen the city as their base. "Cagliari enables us to sail more than 200 days a year, which is a really important factor for us," explains Max Sirena, skipper and team director. "The city was chosen by the Italian National Sailing Team to prepare for Tokyo 2020, which is a strong indication of the quality of the location. Cagliari is also an international city capable of hosting 100 members from our global team, and the schools and services are of a really high standard." The quality of the racing course will also help ensure an unmissable event. "In April, the weather tends to vary depending on whether there are low-pressure areas in the island or not," continues Sirena. "If there are high pressure conditions, then we will have a sea breeze that reaches 150-160 degrees and, in that period, around 10-12 knots. If there's low pressure, then we could also have stronger winds, usually of the mistral variety. So we're convinced Sardinia will provide great conditions for the regattas."
Portsmouth, an Anglo Saxon temple
From 4 to 7 June, the World Series procession will move on to Portsmouth: a temple of Anglo Saxon sailing and the location of some great and historical regattas that are incredibly popular with the general public, including a round-the-world trip featuring the finest crews of the era. When the previous World Series races took place in 2015 and 2016 – along the coast at Southsea – there were as many as 250,000 spectators. Portsmouth is also the base for the Ineos Team UK, the British challengers guided by a sailing legend, Sir Ben Ainslie. "We really can't wait to race in front of our public," said the skipper and team manager of the challengers. "It's brilliant that Portsmouth has been chosen for one of only two locations outside New Zealand where people can see the AC75s in action. We're sure the regattas will be a real show."
In the gulf of sailing
From one temple to another. The third stage of the World Series will take place in Auckland from 17 to 20 December. There are two rituals in the New Zealand capital – and the country as a whole – rugby and sailing. Which means people can't wait for the event that will essentially be the last test in sight prior to the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series – the trials used to select the challenger – and then the 36th America's Cup. The regatta will take place in Hauraki Gulf, a location which has already hosted some incredible regattas: in 2000, when the home team defeated Luna Rossa, and in 2003, when they had to cede the 'Auld Mug' to the Swiss team, Alinghi. The organisers have already started work on building the Race Village in the heart of the city, offering enthusiasts a true 'playground' to satisfy all their sailing interests. The teams' bases will be located just a short distance away, including that of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team at Hobson Wharf. There will be plenty of fun to be had, just like at Portsmouth and Cagliari.