For the first time, the foiling monohull AC 75s lined up against one another in Auckland, NZ, kicking off a four-month run of races leading the the America’s Cup Final match race in March 2021.

Whether it’s racing on Puget Sound or watching those who duke it out around the globe, we’re always captivated by races that push the limits of the sport and get us excited about sailing. Accordingly, the crew here at 48° North is enthralled with the latest in the America’s Cup World Series, which started this week in Auckland, New Zealand.

For those who aren’t quite ready to shell out the $175 required for American fans to stream the event live, these highlights videos will have to suffice. Fortunately, they are a well done and pretty comprehensive snapshot of the racing coverage. Here’s the day one and two highlights and results from America’s Cup Media:

As we write this, the first racing day of the PRADA ACWS Auckland has just concluded and New York Yacht Club American Magic is leading the provisional ranking after winning both the matches they raced today. In second position comes Emirates Team New Zealand (1 point), third Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (1 point) and fourth INEOS TEAM UK (0 points). 
Races where held with a south-westerly breeze ranged between 15 and 19 knots. Top speed of the day was 49.1 knots reached by Emirates Team New Zealand.

RACE 1 – Emirates Team New Zealand beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

Start: 1512
Port: Emirates Team New Zealand
Starboard: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Course: 6
Axis: 214
Length: 2.02nm
Current: 1 knot at 331
Winner: Emirates Team New Zealand 3:13

The opening race saw the current Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand go head to head with the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

Both boats were on time and at speed as they entered the starting box. At the start Emirates Team New Zealand headed out to the right hand side of the course while Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli performed a perfectly executed tack just before the start to cross the line on the pin end. As both teams headed out to opposite sides of the first beat the race looked like it could be close, but as the pair came back for the first cross there was the first hint as to just how much more pace the Kiwis had.

Around the first gate Emirates Team New Zealand led by 41 seconds, a big gap for just one leg of racing and, from there, the distance simply grew with the Kiwis hauling out a winning margin of 3min 13seconds by the finish.

“We got a little left hand shift on the first lap followed by a right hand one on the way down so it was an easier race for us, but we’re really pleased with how everything went,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling.

RACE 2 – New York Yacht Club American Magic beat INEOS TEAM UK

Start: 1550
Port: New York Yacht Club American Magic
Starboard: INEOS TEAM UK
Course: 6
Axis: 214
Length: 2.02nm
Current: 0.7 knots at 331
Winner: New York Yacht Club American Magic 5:00

Just minutes before the start INEOS TEAM UK participation seemed in doubt as they reported technical problems, but with seconds to go they confirmed that they were now intending to compete.

Off the start, American Magic quickly gained the upper hand on the opening beat of this three lap race. By the time the Americans had reached the first gate they had pulled out a 50sec lead over INEOS TEAM UK.

From here the race only went one way as New York Yacht Club American Magic increased their lead rapidly to well over 2000m midway through the race. Their lead was accentuated following control problems aboard the British boat that saw them lose control on one of the downwind legs.

“It’s completely locked out here, the rudder just lost grip,” said skipper Sir Ben Ainslie over the crew comms as Britannia crashed onto port following a gybe. And it wasn’t the last of their problems as control issues continued to dog their race.

In the meantime, American Magic cruised to victory 5min ahead.

RACE 3 – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat INEOS TEAM UK

Start: 1642
Starboard: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Course: 6
Axis: 214
Length: 2.01nm
Current: 0.1 knots at 346
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

The clock was counting down for INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) from the moment they crossed the finish line in Race 2. Technical problems in the previous race had hampered their performance, now they had minutes to ensure that their boat was ready to face Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA).

In the opening stages of the pre-start it looked as if the British team had got back into shape as they entered the start box at speed and on time from the left hand side.

Meanwhile the Italians entered in a similar manner, but as the clock counted down to the start and INEOS TEAM UK tacked onto starboard to line up for the start, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli came in on port, tacked underneath the British team who now had to keep clear as they were the windward boat.

AC75 boats have safety zones around them to help avoid any physical contact, breaching these zones gains a penalty and it was INEOS TEAM UK that started their race with a penalty as the umpires deemed that Sir Ben Ainslie’s had not kept clear.

Within seconds Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had accelerated away from the incident, up on their foils, at speed and had pulled out a 500m+ lead as both boats went up the left hand side of the beat.

By the first windward gate the Italians were 1:09 ahead of INEOS TEAM UK, a physical lead of 1000m. But shortly after the British team went through the gate skipper Ben Ainslie announced to the race committee that they were retiring from the race following a technical failure.

RACE 4 – American Magic beat Emirates Team New Zealand

Start: 1720
Port: New York Yacht Club American Magic
Starboard: Emirates Team New Zealand
Course: 6
Axis: 214
Length: 2.01nm
Current: 0.3 knots at 146
Winner: New York Yacht Club American Magic  0:12

Would this be the match of the day? If the speed and timing that American Magic (USA) executed on their entry into the box was evidence, Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) were in for a solid challenge.

In the pre-start the Kiwis entered slowly and didn’t seem to want to engage with the Americans. Emirates Team New Zealand looked very slow, did they have a problem?

American Magic charged into the line at speed and on time and well ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand whose crew comms suggested a technical problem. But as the pair got underway, both boats were running at 32-35knots upwind. American Magic were to the left of the course with Emirates Team New Zealand underneath as American Magic protected their position up the beat.

At the first windward gate American Magic rounded 0:15 ahead as they screamed downwind to the righthand boundary of the course, the boats 275m apart.

This was already the closest race of the day.

As the gusts swept across the race course, the Kiwis were able to sail deeper at times as they took a more direct route to the bottom gate. But to do this meant putting in a few more gybes in the process, negating any advantage they had gained.

By the bottom gate they were 17 seconds behind as they rounded the same left hand mark on the course as American Magic.

Taking the decision to put in a snappy tack onto port, a very difficult manoeuvre at speed, didn’t go well and they failed to keep their boat on its foils. Suddenly the margin had doubled from 200m to 400m.

In subsequent manoeuvres, they continued to lose distance raising speculation that they had a problem on board.

By the second windward gate, American Magic had stretched their advantage to 0:26. But while the distance had grown on the second upwind leg, Emirates Team New Zealand gradually hauled back a few seconds to pass through the bottom gate 0:20 behind.

Choosing the left-hand mark allowed them to take the opposite side of the course before then instigating a tacking duel. This eroded the Americans advantage as the Kiwis were now executing better tacks between the two.

By the windward gate the margin had reduced to 70m, American Magic still had the advantage but only just and they were being pushed hard. But at the left hand mark at the final upwind gate Emirates Team New Zealand got to the zone first and gained rights over American Magic to round inside and ahead. A protest was dealt to the Americans and cleared shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, Emirates Team New Zealand gybed quickly but were in less wind and when the pair came back together American Magic had regained their lead and had engineered a better approach to the finish to take the win.


Four match races have been held on the second day, December 18, of the PRADA ACWS Auckland on race course C, the preferred playing field  as it brings the racing right into the heart of the Waitematā Harbour, with a shifty and puffy Northwest breezes between 10 to 14 knots.

The new ranking list see New York Yacht Club American Magic and Emirates Team New Zealand on a tie with three wins each. The Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (2 points) and INEOS TEAM UK (0 points) follow in third and fourth position respectively.

RACE 5 – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic

Start: 1512
Port: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team
Starboard: New York Yacht Club American Magic
Course: 6
Axis: 000
Length: 1.8nm
Current: 0.9 knots at 050
Wind speed 12-15kt
Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli 0:12

After an unconventional pre-start in which Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) were dealt a penalty for entering the start box early. They managed to clear this with a couple of tacks, but the real drama was to happen just a few minutes up the first leg.

Having kept their noses clean and pulled out the makings of a good lead, American Magic (USA) came close to a capsize during a tack when the windward foil seemed to be slow in being raised out of the water. The incident looked precariously close to a capsize but what wasn’t in doubt was how it had affected their standings in the race as the Challenger of Record took the lead.

At the first windward gate the Italians had maintained healthy lead but two gybes at the bottom of the downwind leg cost them distance and the Americans were now just 9 seconds behind.

From there, the race remained tight but Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailed a confident and clean race to take the win by 12 seconds.

RACE 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Start: 1550
Port: Emirates Team New Zealand
Starboard: INEOS TEAM UK
Course: 6
Axis: 001
Length: 1.82nm
Current: 0.8 knots at 050
Wind speed 12-15kt
Winner Emirates Team New Zealand 1:32

There were early signs of some boat on boat action in the pre-start as INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) attempted to pin a penalty on Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) seconds before the start. The move didn’t work, despite a protest by the British team, but it provided a burst of action in the opening stages of this race.

The breeze had shifted to the left forcing both boats to start on port tack and resulting in a drag race up the first part of the beat.

The Kiwis were first out to the righthand boundary and came back at INEOS TEAM UK as they tacked onto starboard. Sir Ben Ainslie matched the tack, well to leeward and with a decent lateral separation between the two there was little in the way of engagement and more in the way of covering tacks. But just as Emirates Team New Zealand were settling into the makings of a healthy lead, drama as the home team came perilously close to hitting the glass fibre 900kg windward mark in a mis-communication between helmsman Peter Burling and tactician Glenn Ashby who was positioned to leeward and talking him into the rounding.

Meanwhile, INEOS TEAM UK took the left-hand mark and rounded cleanly to trail by 20 sec. By the bottom mark the Kiwis lead had increased to 30 sec.

On the next lap, the drama came when Emirates Team New Zealand fluffed a gybe in their approach to the bottom gate as the rudder appeared to stall. The boat performed a high-speed wheelie. Smart thinking by the crew saw the jib eased quickly and the windward foil raised as Burling headed downwind to avoid a capsize. They managed to recover and rounded the mark cleanly, but it had cost them 5 sec shaving their lead from 45 to 40 seconds.

The third and final lap delivered no more in the way of dramas and saw the Kiwis extend their lead to 1:32 by the finish.

RACE 7 – New York Yacht Club American Magic beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

Start: 1637

Port: New York Yacht Club American Magic

Starboard: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

Course: 8

Axis: 001

Length: 1.62nm

Current: 0.6 knots at 051

Winner New York Yacht Club American Magic 0:30

The return match between American Magic (USA) and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) was the third race of the day. The breeze had shifted further to the left and the course had been adjusted to match with four laps.

On the entry into the start box, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli came in early and were dealt a penalty. Two starts, two penalties so far, but there was more to come.

Then some classic match racing action as the boats duelled to the righthand side of the start area which saw Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli put a penalty on American Magic. But in the heat of the moment the Italians were unable to accelerate away from the issue and the Americans put a penalty back on Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. To be  stopped in the water with your American opponent screeching away means that it doesn’t take long to give the 50m distance that is required to clear a penalty.

As the race settled down, American Magic were leading and headed out towards the left hand side of the course.

By the time they reached the windward gate it was clear that they had chosen the better side of the course and rounded 21 seconds ahead of the Italians.

Little had changed in the distance between the two by the first leeward gate with both boats taking the left hand mark, 20 seconds apart. On the water the distance was around 140m.

This time American Magic seemed more keen to cover their opponent, matching them tack for tack to protect their lead, with good reason.

At the second windward gate Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had cut the deficit in two to round 10seconds behind.

By the bottom of the downwind leg the distance had increased a little to 14 seconds as the Italians performed a perfectly executed starboard mark rounding that rolled into a tack as if they were on rails.

Once again, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had gained upwind to close the gap to just 5 seconds. By the end of the third lap the distance had grown once again to 15seconds, a pattern was starting to appear with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli faster upwind, American Magic quicker downwind.

A pattern in the tactics was appearing too with another very similar pattern of play on the final upwind leg as American Magic matched Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli tack for tack to protect their lead. And this time, protect it they did as the Americans rounded the windward mark for the final time, 16 seconds ahead.

With the finish line in sight and confidence high American Magic cruised to victory, stretching their lead to 30seconds.

RACE 8 –  Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Start: 1715
Starboard: Emirates Team New Zealand
Course: 6
Axis: 001
Length: 1.85nm
Current: 0.3 knots at 055
Breeze 10-14 kts
Winner Emirates Team New Zealand 1:42

The final race of the day saw the second helping of the day’s sparring  between INEOS Team UK (GBR) and Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL). While there was little engagement between the two in the pre-start, Sir Ben Ainslie made a better job of setting up to cross the start line on time and at speed.

Meanwhile, the Kiwis who were already rather deep into the starting box, appeared to stall out in a pre-start gybe. The result was that Emirates Team New Zealand were not going to be able to make the start on time, leaving the door open for INEOS TEAM UK to sail away unhindered up the first beat.

The Brits rounded the left hand mark of the first windward gate in the lead, but Emirates Team New Zealand had already hauled back a big chunk of the lost distance to round just 12 seconds behind. The Kiwis chose the right hand mark resulting in a split from their opponents. When they came back together to cross, Emirates Team New Zealand had taken the lead, at least for the time being. The shifty and puffy breeze had favoured the British route down the right hand side of the course and placed them back in the lead at the next cross.

Then, as the third cross approached as the pair came into the bottom gate the lead had now swung back to Emirates Team New Zealand as they rounded the left hand mark, 4 seconds ahead of INEOS TEAM UK who chose the opposite mark.

By the top gate on the second lap the Kiwis leading margin had increased to 31 seconds, despite INEOS TEAM UK appearing to match Emirates Team New Zealand’s straight line speed. By the bottom the Peter Burling’s team lead was 47 seconds.

With just one lap left, the breeze had dropped a few knots making it more of a struggle for the teams to keep their boats on the foils. Mark roundings became more tricky as their approaches into manoeuvres were adapted with the occasional momentary splash downs through tacks.

By the final leg the die had been cast and the Kiwis took a win over the British team by 1min 42 secs. Another win for the home team, but two completed races for Sir Ben Ainslie after some difficult days.

Title photo is courtesy of COR36 / Studio Borlenghi.