It used to be that the America’s Cup only took place every few years, and with no racing in between. This was boring for the sailors, and meant the event fell off the radar for spectators and enthusiasts. As of the last 10 years, there have been ‘warm-up’ events to help get sailors and teams up to speed, and to get spectators, sponsors and other people pumped up for the main event.
The America’s Cup World Series events were popular during the build-up to the last Cup in San Francisco 2013, but now the events mean more - because they count for points towards the final - whilst also being shorter than ever with just four races per weekend.
All the changes to the event are with exciting TV coverage in mind, so while the sailors might prefer more races to even out the luck, TV audiences demand jeopardy and uncertainty.
The other big difference is that, at approximately 15 metres long, the catamarans being designed for this edition are the smallest boats ever to be used in the America's Cup’s 160-year history. But that said, they are also expected to be the fastest ever, capable of travelling in excess of 40 knots.
Also worth noting is that usually the Defender hosts the event on home waters, yet Oracle Team USA is hosting this Cup in Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory, a choice that isn’t entirely popular with American fans of the Cup.