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America's Cup explained in 3 easy points

America's Cup explained in 3 easy points

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How does the America's Cup competition work?

Credit: ACEA/Photo Abner Kingman

The America’s Cup is a match race, one against one, sailing’s equivalent of a boxing match. First the challenger teams must battle each other to find out which team has earned the right to take on the Defender in the America’s Cup itself (who will always have a space).

They do this in a series of racing events called the America's Cup World Series. These ACWS are discrete events with a winner, although points are accumulated across all the events.

It's important to note that, although the competition is weighted in favour of the Defender, Oracle Team USA still thinks the America's Cup World Series is important.

The ACWS events have four races: two on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Sunday races count for double the points. All points are carried forward over all of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events. At the end of the ACWS, the top team gets 2 bonus points for the Cup Qualifiers in 2017, while the second place team gets one bonus point.

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers are for all teams - including the current Defender, Oracle Team USA. The regatta comprises a double ‘round robin’ - meaning that every team gets to race against every other team once per round. The top four challengers advance to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Playoffs, progressing through a Semi-Final to a two-boat Final. This final America's Cup race decides the winner.

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