Painting the picture >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Matthew Sheahan, who hosts the PlanetSail sailing channel on YouTube, is in New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup. With the Challenger Selection series kicking off January 15, Sheahan shares the venue’s opinion:

It’s a surreal experience down here in Auckland. Apart from the fact that masks have to be worn in public transport, life is normal. The bars were full, the streets and beaches were busy, the weather was hot, the scenery superb, and the prospect of three months of racing delicious.

In isolation from current world events, these are exciting times, and while the 36th America’s Cup may only have three challengers, they are three high-profile teams and you won’t hear anyone grumble about it. Instead, before Christmas, the AC World Series showed that close races are on the menu. (I know what you’re thinking … but standby … I think more of the British are coming).

There’s so much to report from here, and yet it’s hard to know where to draw the line without looking reckless and insensitive. It’s especially difficult outside of the race.

How to paint the picture of a country basking in a spectacular summer and a city celebrating its success by being able to put on a show that a year ago seemed impossible without looking like we were rubbing it in.

New Zealanders know how lucky they are and how fragile their own national defenses are. The line between holding COVID-19 and this small country’s breakthrough is closely monitored, but no one doubts how easily things could change.

Kiwis seem to live life to the fullest, and they are, but they are also fully aware of and continue to worry about what is happening in the rest of the world.

While it is easy to understand how incredibly happy and privileged those of us are who are here, it’s also difficult not to feel guilty when the rest of the world and loved ones left at home are struggling to cope with it terrible pandemic.

Every time I send pictures back to my own family who specifically asked how life is down here, part of me feels bad when it seems like it’s rubbing it in.

It’s hard to be happy about living the dream while loved ones are stuck in a nightmare. It’s a surreal experience and not one that I expected before and that sometimes hit me harder than I expected.

That being said, and on the work front, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support, particularly at PlanetSail. 2020 has been a stellar year with subscriptions increasing and viewership rising to 3 million. And there’s only one way this has happened so thank you.


36th America’s Cup
In addition to the challenges from Italy, the US, and the UK accepted during the initial registration period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional challenge notifications had been received by the late registration deadline on November 30, 2018, with eight submissions, entries from Malta , the USA and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here is the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – record challenger
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA) – WITHDRAWN
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

Important dates for the America’s Cup:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup protocol published
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 class concepts published for key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries open for challengers
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 class rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Close entries for challengers
✔ August 31, 2018: Venue of the America’s Cup Match and the PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race track area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Deadline for submission
✔ March 31, 2019: Boot 1 can be started (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELED)
✔ October 1, 2019: $ 1 million late entry deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boot 2 can be started (DELAYED)
✔ 23.-26. April 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELED)
✔ 4th-7th June 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELED)
✔ 17.-20. December 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15 – February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• 6-15. March 2021: The America’s Cup match

Youth America’s Cup Competition (CANCELED)
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1st to 5th, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

Start dates for AC75:
September 6, 2019 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), boat 1
September 10, 2019 – American Magic (USA), boat 1; actual start date earlier but not published
October 2, 2019 – Luna Rossa (ITA), boat 1
October 4, 2019 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), boat 1
October 16, 2020 – American Magic (USA), boat 2
October 17, 2020 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), boat 2
October 20, 2020 – Luna Rossa (ITA), boat 2
November 19, 2020 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), boat 2


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