America’s Cup to get underway on Wednesday with two races per day

The New Zealand Prime Minister has just announced that Auckland will drop a COVID Alert Level from 0600hrs Sunday.

Auckland will go down to Level 2 while the rest of New Zealand will be on Level 1.

A further decision will be taken next Friday if Auckland will drop to Level 1 for the weekend starting Saturday March 13.

America’s Cup Event Ltd has announced that the highly anticipated Race 1 of the 36th America’s Cup Match will start shortly after 4 pm (NZT) on Wednesday 10th March after the Government announced a reduction in alert levels today.

Under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 or 1, the race schedule will remain as planned with two races per day – Wednesday 10th, Friday 12th, Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th, Monday 15th and each day after that. The current schedule has racing every day until either the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand or the Challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli reaches 7 wins.

Any changes to this schedule will need to be agreed between both teams.

Racing under Level 2 will be restricted to only be sailed on either Race Course A or E.

(Under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 all courses will become an option to race on for the Regatta Director again.)

Under Level 2, the bars, cafés and restaurants and other retail outlets within the America’s Cup Race Village will open, and operate within Ministry of Health guidelines. Entertainment, LIVE racing on the Big Screens, and activations are unable to operate until we move back into Level 1.

A more elegant approach is to start the regatta on March 13 under the original schedule with days off and spanning two weekends with the Match concluding on Sunday March 21, and if not being sailed out on a daily basis from Monday March 22.

The latter arrangement would make the Match less prone to becoming a dead rubber due to capsize or collision incurring major damage. It would require sign-off between the Challenger and Defender as to the change in dates, which clearly hasn’t happened.

If the Match does finish in a 7-0 or 7-1 result, and ends on Sunday March 14, it will equal the shortest multi-challenger America’s Cup since 1980 being a five day regatta, the same as Fremantle in 1987 which was a best of seven series. The 36th Match in Auckland is a best of 13 series.