by Magnus Wheatley/Sail-World 2 Aug 23:10 UTC3 August 2022
The 2024 America's Cup bases are now being allocated in the Host Venue, Barcelona. The allocation is taking place as specified in the Protocol, with the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand having the first call on the sites.
Unlike Auckland in 2021 and Bermuda in 2017, the teams are not located in a common area but are allocated vacant sites around the old port area of Barcelona. By re-purposing existing properties, the cost of staging the America's Cup is substantially reduced in both time and Euros. The teams can also set up a lot earlier if they wish.
The base allocation diagram released by Emirates Team NZ and America's Cup Event Ltd shows six base areas, with currently only four teams announced as Challengers, plus Emirates Team NZ, meaning there is one spare site. Despite entries closing on Sunday night, July 31, 2022, there has been no announcement of any new Challenges for America's Cup 2024.
Sail-World understands that Alinghi Red Bull Racing is setting up in the base area closest to the bottom of the headline shot, and will be sailing their AC75, formerly the ETNZ designed and built Te Aihe, from that site.
Speaking with Matt Sheahan of PlanetSail, at Cowes Week, INEOS Britannia's Ben Anslie said he expected to see Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailing their AC75 in September, and for INEOS Britannia, and Luna Rossa to be sailing AC40's in the Mediterranean, and Emirates Team NZ doing the same, presumably in Auckland.
Teams are not permitted to sail anywhere other than Barcelona from June 1, 2023, to September 30, 2023, and all teams are expected to set up and sail from Barcelona during these dates. A further no-sail period of eight weeks, nominated by the teams, will be taken between March 1, 2023, and May 31, 2023. These new rules will mean that, unlike Auckland in the 2021 AC cycle, teams will be set up for longer in Barcelona. However, several are expected to run a Barcelona base and a base in their country of origin, like the British team in Mallorca in southern Spain.
"Like a jewel in the sun" was how Montserrat Caballé and Freddy Mercury described Barcelona in their famous song about the Catalan capital. The city is starting to shine as preparations are well underway to welcome the teams to their new bases. Base allocation is coming together, just four months after the venue announcement, with the confirmed sites now ready for selection in strict order of entry as set out in the Protocol.
It has been a huge undertaking in a spirit of collaboration between the Port de Barcelona and AC37 Events Limited (ACE) to identify the required spaces for all of the entered teams and communicate requirements effectively. The Port Authority has been working closely with key personnel from ACE since the moment of the venue confirmation. It has provided a far more comprehensive and detailed plan than ever seen before at this stage of an America's Cup cycle.
Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, has been impressed with how the process has been conducted: "I cannot speak highly enough of the work and commitment that has gone into getting us to this point with the Port de Barcelona. All of the bases are located in the Barcelona Port Vell area along with the dedicated America's Cup race village, hospitality and fan zone areas, creating an amazing atmosphere in the lead up to and during the event in 2024."
Emirates Team New Zealand, as holder of the America's Cup, has the honour of picking their base area first and has selected the World Trade Centre site at the western end of the official America's Cup race village. Speaking about the selection, Kevin Shoebridge, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Team New Zealand, commented: "It's very nice to have the first option, but to be perfectly honest, any of the base sites would have worked perfectly for us. The Port Authority has been first-class in helping us get to this point in such a tight timescale, and their commitment to the America's Cup is unparalleled."
Work will now begin on all the sites to the teams' specifications once the allocation has been confirmed. Dalton said, "All of the teams are ready to action planning as soon as their respective bases are allocated, and we have fully engaged local authorities and stakeholders standing by to support the event and its infrastructure build."
INEOS Team Britannia, as Challenger of Record, have selected the IMAX base, right next to the Real Club Nàutico de Barcelona, one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, and set close by to the eastern end of the America's Cup village for maximum fan exposure and engagement.
According to the Protocol for the 37th America's Cup, the final allocation of bases to the teams is conducted in accordance with the priority specified in Article 51.2 of the Protocol - Defender first, then Challenger of Record, followed by the remaining Challengers in the order that their challenges were accepted. ACE is now in consultation with Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and American Magic in that strict order according to the Protocol conditions.
Once the allocation is confirmed, the Port Authority will continue preparations, conversions and groundworks ahead of the teams taking possession of their plots around the port area progressively between October 2022 and April 2023.
With all of the bases being located within the Port Vell area and surrounded by the America's Cup village, where tens of thousands of spectators can be accommodated on a daily basis, the atmosphere promises to be electric and achieves the stated objective of the event in reaching the widest possible audience. The America's Cup will be welcoming the world to Barcelona in 2024.
The course area, just outside the port entrance breakwaters, is set in front of significant fan zones, beach viewing platforms and a hospitality area to provide the perfect vista to enjoy high-performance yacht racing at the pinnacle event of sailing's calendar.
In the city, meanwhile, America's Cup shops selling apparel together with a range of fan engagement experiences will be located at the bottom of the city's famous 'La Rambla' boulevard that runs through the heart of the city centre. The event race village will be located along El Moll de la Fusta and will be a must-visit attraction for all visitors to Barcelona.
The "jewel in the sun" is about to be the host for the 'jewel in world yachting' as the 37th America's Cup comes to Barcelona in 2024.