America’s Cup racing is set to return to New York for the first time since 1920, with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing on May 7 to 8, 2016.
The New York event is one of six events planned during 2016, each featuring thrilling, high-speed competition, as six America’s Cup teams, with the top sailors in the world, vie for points that count towards the final competition for the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.
This year, Emirates Team New Zealand’s star helmsman, Peter Burling, the youngest in the fleet, led his team to the top of the standings over current America’s Cup champion Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle Team USA, and the highly touted Land Rover BAR team led by Olympic hero Ben Ainslie.
The competition was close, however. In fact, the opening three Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 featured three different event winners, and four different individual race winners.
The 2016 calendar promises more hard-fought racing on the foiling AC45F catamarans that fly above the water.
“Everyone is going to want to start the New Year off well,” said Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “But all the other teams have been out training with the same goal in mind, so nothing will come easy this year.
“The New York event is going to be spectacular. Racing on the lower Hudson River, in front of that Manhattan skyline, will be a huge hit. New Yorkers are massive sports fans and I think this will be something very special: thrilling, top-level racing right in the heart of the city. It’s going to be a great event for the America’s Cup and a great event for New York.”
Practice racing in New York is on May 6, with point-scoring races on the weekend of May 7 to 8.
Four events for the 2016 schedule have been announced to date:
• Muscat, Oman — February 26 to 28, 2016;
• New York, USA — May 6 to 8, 2016;
• Chicago, USA — June 10 to 12, 2016;
• Portsmouth, UK — July 22 to 24, 2016.
Two additional Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events are anticipated to complete the calendar, likely in Europe in mid-September, and in Asia in mid-November.
“With six events around the world in 2016 our fans will have more opportunities to enjoy America’s Cup racing and follow their favourite teams and sailors as we build towards the finals in Bermuda in 2017,” said Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner of the America’s Cup.
“We’re excited to be able to add the new venues of Oman, New York and Chicago to the calendar, giving more fans a chance to experience the America’s Cup in person.”
The New York event is a milestone of sorts: America’s Cup racing was held in New York harbour and environs for 50 years, representing the first 13 challenges for the oldest trophy in international sport.
From 1870 through 1920 racing took place off New York.
Starting in 1930, the competition was moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where it remained until the United States finally lost the Cup in 1983, ending the longest winning streak in sport.
Since that time, racing for the America’s Cup has taken place in Perth, Australia; San Diego, USA; Auckland, New Zealand; Valencia, Spain, and San Francisco, USA.
In May and June of 2017, the next America’s Cup will be raced for in Bermuda.
This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on December 8th, 2015.