America’s Cup 2021, Emirates Team New Zealand v Luna Rossa: Sailing schedule, race times and TV channel

What is it?

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport, dating back to 1851. It is so old it’s known as “Auld Mug”. It’s sailing, but super-charged.

No British team has ever won it over the course of those 170 years and that barren run will continue after our latest challenger, Ineos Team UK’s Britannia, led by Sir Ben Ainslie, got thrashed 7-1 by Italian boat Luna Rossa Challenge in the Prada Cup final – the race to determine who will take on reigning champions Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup proper.

The venue for the 2021 America’s Cup is New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf, on the east coast of the North Island, outside of Auckland City’s Waitematā Harbour.

When is America’s Cup 2021?

The 36th America’s Cup match was due to take place on March 6-15 between the hours of 03:00-05:00 GMT. However, Auckland moved into a level three lockdown at 6am local time on Sunday February 28, with the first and second days’ racing now postponed. Organisers have said they will not take place before March 10.

What channel is it on and how can I watch it?

Every race of the America’s Cup will be shown live on Sky Sports, normally Sky Sports Mix. The BBC will be also be showing decisive race days. The America’s Cup YouTube channel also has a live stream. 

Emirates Team New Zealand celebrate winning the famous America's Cup trophy in 2017


Emirates Team New Zealand celebrate winning the famous America’s Cup trophy in 2017


Credit: RICARDO PINTO

What teams are taking part?

Emirates Team New Zealand [New Zealand] vs Luna Rossa Challenge [Italy]

How does it work?

  • Luna Rossa qualified to race Emirates Team NZ by beating Team Ineos UK 7-1 in the first-to-seven wins Prada Cup final.
  • The America’s Cup is also a first-to-seven competition.

What was the exact schedule?

36th America’s Cup

  • March 6-15 – Emirates Team New Zealand v Luna Rossa Challenge

The racing schedule for the America’s Cup match had two races per day planned for March 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Additional reserve days have been scheduled but it remains to be announced how the schedule we be replanned given the postponement (see above). 

“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,” America’s Cup Event Ltd Chair, Tina Symmans said.

Who have won in the past?

Only four nations have won the America’s Cup since the first race 170 years ago. America has had a virtual monopoly on the event, triumphing in 30 of the 36 editions. New Zealand has a hat-trick of wins, including the last match in Bermuda four years ago which means Emirates Team NZ are defenders this time around. The Royal Perth Yacht Club brought the Cup home for Australia in 1983, with back-to-back Swiss triumphs in 2003 and 2007.

What happened to Team Ineos UK’s challenge?

The long wait continues. Despite a stirring fightback which saw Ainslie’s team recover from a humiliating trouncing in a pre-Christmas warm-up regatta to advance to the challenger series [Prada Cup] final, the British crew were ultimately unable to push on.

Already lying 5-1 down to their Italian rivals and needing to win at least one of Sunday’s two races to prolong the first-to-seven final, they were soundly beaten in both; their Achilles heel in light winds proving to be too much of a handicap.

“Sorry guys, it’s not going to happen,” was all Ainslie could say to his crew over the radio as they crossed the finish line in the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland. “Good effort though.”

It was indeed a good effort. Ineos were the first British team in 40 years to reach the final of the America’s Cup challenger selection series and never gave up the fight. But this outcome fell short of their own lofty expectations.

What are they saying?

Ainslie admitted Team UK must learn and improve after such a comprehensive loss.

“When you look at a team like Luna Rossa which has been in the Cup game for 20 years, Team New Zealand for 30-odd years, it’s that constant learning and development.”Whilst the people may change slightly over that period, as an organisation they’re growing each time and it’s that collective learning. For us this is our second go at the Cup.”

What are the latest odds?

  • Emirates Team New Zealand 4/7
  • Luna Rossa Challenge 6/5
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