Patriot 2.0 sets sail in Auckland ahead of PRADA Cup Semifinal

Photo courtesy of America's Cup

New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team returned their once-damaged AC75 to the waters off the shores of Auckland Tuesday for a training session 11 days after capsizing in a PRADA Cup round robin race.

The scary scene of Patriot lying on its side in the water from a week ago has been replaced by one of hope as the U.S. team took their resurrected boat out for its first training session since the accident. America’s Cup Defenders, Emirates Team New Zealand, put their own boat builders to work to help get Patriot back in shape to race this week in the PRADA Cup Semifinal.

The U.S.’ AC75, dubbed Patriot 2.0, now sports a bandage graphic as a way to say thank you to each of the teams who helped get them back on the water.

Patriot 2.0 features a bandage after being repaired and voyaging back into the water. (Photo courtesy of America’s Cup)

During their fourth PRADA Cup round robin race, a strong gust of wind set off a chain reaction, launching Patriot skyward followed by a violent splash down. The impact blew a large hole in Patriot’s hull and caused many to wonder whether the U.S.’s bid to reclaim the Auld Mug had come to an abrupt halt.

With one successful training session in the books, see if American Magic can turn their PRADA Cup campaign around this weekend when they race Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team for a chance to face INEOS Team UK in the PRADA Cup Final. The winner of the PRADA Cup will advance to meet Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup.

NBC Sports Gold has live coverage of the PRADA Cup Semifinals starting this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

Racing in 36th America’s Cup cleared to begin next week

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Racing in the 36th match for sailing’s America Cup between defender Team New Zealand and Italian challenger Luna Rossa will begin next Wednesday after the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown regulations in host city Auckland.

The Cup Match was due to begin Saturday but was pushed back to Wednesday when Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, moved to alert level 3 after a small community outbreak.

The outbreak is now thought contained and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced Auckland will move to alert level 2 from Sunday. That will allow racing to take place in the best-of-13 race Match, albeit without crowds at the Cup village or fan zones ashore.

Two races will be sailed on Wednesday with an off-day Thursday. Racing will continue on the next four days — March 12 to 15 — and continue each day afterwards until one team has won seven races.

Auckland COVID outbreak forces America’s Cup postponement

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The first weekend of sailing in the America’s Cup has been postponed after new COVID-19 cases were reported in Auckland. It is now not likely to begin until March 10.

Auckland was placed in limited lockdown for seven days from 6 a.m. Sunday with travel restrictions into and out of New Zealand’s largest city, strict limits on public gatherings, and a ban on sports events.

The 36th match for the America’s Cup between Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa was due to begin next Saturday. America’s Cup Events chairwoman Tina Symmans said Sunday the decision had been made early to give participants “some certainty in planning.

The alert level changes were announced late Saturday after two new coronavirus cases were located in the community which could not directly be linked to earlier cases. Auckland recently returned to level 1 after a small community cluster of infections.

“ACE has always said that it wishes to hold as much of the racing under level 1 restrictions as possible,” Symmans said. “But to be prudent, ACE will apply for an exemption to race under Level 3 restrictions so as to keep as many options open as possible.

“However, racing will not occur before at least Wednesday, March 10. We need to understand all likely scenarios so that an updated racing schedule can be put in place whilst also ensuring the regulatory requirements are met.”

Races in the America’s Cup challenger series took place this month without crowds when Auckland was at level 2. A government exemption would be needed and strict protocols would have to be in place for racing to take place at level 3.