The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, on behalf of the defender Emirates Team New Zealand, has accepted the challenge for the 37th America’s Cup from the British team. The news follows the fourth America’s Cup win for the New Zealand team after they beat Italian challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli by seven races to three on March 17, 2021.
The British team fell out of the running of the 36th America’s Cup after being beaten by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in the PRADA Cup Final series.
NEOS Team UK skipper and team principal, Sir Ben Ainslie commented that the sailing team is “committed to working alongside Emirates Team New Zealand and our respective yacht clubs to continue the development of this historic event.
“The introduction of the AC75 class of yacht has proven to be a transformative moment in the history of the America’s Cup and will be the bedrock of a really bright future,” he added.
The challenge letter was signed on the same day as the 36th America’s cup final on March 17, within minutes of Emirates Team New Zealand crossing the finish line. The formality took place on board 44 metre Alloy sailing yacht Imagine D, with the letter signed by chairman of Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Bertie Bicket and accepted by Aaron Young, commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club.
Bicket, who has been in Auckland throughout the 2021 final, said: “We are delighted to be embarking on our third successive America’s Cup challenge with Sir Ben Ainslie and INEOS, as the Challenging Yacht Club for the 37th America’s Cup. We look forward to working with all parties and will strive to continue the tradition and history of this great sporting event.”
The announcement confirms the continued support of INEOS towards Sir Ben Ainslie’s team and also marks the first time a British team will compete in three consecutive America’s Cup cycles since the challenges of Sir Thomas Lipton and the Royal Ulster YC between 1899 to 1930.
Considered the pinnacle of yacht racing and one of the oldest trophies in international sport, the America’s Cup was first hosted in 1851 in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron. The last British challenger to compete in an America’s Cup prior to INEOS Team UK was the 12 metre Sovereign in 1964.