- Annemarie Scholte
Same storm, different boats....
Racing for the same Cup, 170 years apart (credits: Cameron Gregory - AC75 and AD Blake - Yacht America)
A lot has happened over the last year, and still is. We all might be in ‘the same storm’, but we’re on very different boats, so I’ll refrain from trying to make any sense out of it in this historical sailing blog. Instead, I will carry on writing about sailing and draw your attention to one of the biggest sailing events taking place in New Zealand at the moment.
At a time where we keep hoping for better days, there are some of us whose dreams involve something more specific: the America’s Cup, that sought-after sailing trophy.
Over the last few years, long before the pandemic made itself known to us, several teams around the World have worked tirelessly on their respective campaigns to compete in the 36th America’s Cup match being held in New Zealand. Despite many uncertainties and lots of sporting cancellations, New Zealand has been able to make the event happen, by being the perfect host-country (for more reasons than one).
The next phase on the road to winning the America’s Cup will start this weekend with the final of the Prada Cup. From Saturday the 13th of February onwards, INEOS Team UK will be racing against the Italian Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team in a ‘first to seven wins’ series. Whoever gets there first, will be the official challenger for the 36th America’s Cup against the defender, Emirates Team New Zealand (raced in March).
Skipper Ben Ainslie and his team are continuing to keep the dream alive of bringing home to the UK the Cup that was lost to the Americans 170 years ago. You can watch them do this on https://www.americascup.com/how-to-watch
The yachts are a first: foiling monohulls, capable of amazing speeds (top speeds reported of over 50 knots) which also mean they created steep learning curves for everyone onboard - and off - adding to the excitement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPhwgvLrM5w
Being reminded what enjoying a day in the sun was like (I know, hard not to get jealous) but also a good reminder of what life will be once we’re through this.
Witnessing a possible historical moment for British sailing: winning the oldest international sporting trophy for the first time in 170 years!
(If you want to know how they lost it in the first place, do read 'Sparrowhawk'!)
In addition, here's a short history of the Cup in 2 minutes - https://www.americascup.com/en/history