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America's Cup 2021: The teams

Racing off the coast of Auckland begins in December with a pre-Christmas regatta involving all the teams. The Prada Cup to find the challenger to take on Team New Zealand is then from January 15-February 22, followed by the America's Cup match from March 6-21.
Here we profile the four teams vying to lift the Auld Mug.

The Holders

Team New Zealand training with Rangitoto Island in the background. Source: America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand

Three times winners, in 1995, 2000 and 2017.

Their win over Oracle Team USA in 2017 was a comprehensive 7-1 victory, skippered by Glenn Ashby and helmed by Olympic gold medalist Peter Burling.

It came after the painful loss in San Francisco in the previous America’s Cup when, after being 8-1 up, they slumped to a 9-8 loss. The win in Bermuda was therefore all the sweeter for the nation’s yachting fans.

The team continue to be led by CEO Grant Dalton, skipper Ashby, and key sailors including Burling and fellow Olympian Blair Tuke.

Racing on home territory on Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf, their AC75 foiling monohull has every chance of landing a fourth title.

The Challengers

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team

Luna Rossa in training in Auckland ahead of the start of racing. Source: America's Cup

The Italian Luna Rossa team are the Challengers of Record and are competing in their fifth America’s Cup having first competed in 2000. The team, which represents the Circolo della Vela Sicilia club, pulled out of the 2017 Bermuda contest after a dispute over a rule change.

Notable among the team is Jimmy Spithill, who was Team NZ’s nemesis in San Francisco when he skippered Oracle Team USA to victory and became infamous in New Zealand for his outspoken comments in media conferences.

American Magic

American Magic in a practice run off the coast of Auckland. Source: America's Cup

Based at the New York Yacht Club, which was home to every winner for the first 132 years of the Cup, the American Magic team was formed in 2017. It is skippered by Terry Hutchinson and Kiwi sailor Dean Barker is their helmsman.

Hutchinson says: "Our mentality is that each day is a race day. When you practise like you race, and make your practice days harder than race days, the racing tends to get easier."

Ineos Team UK

Team UK training on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. Source: America's Cup

Skippered by Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie, the team was formed in 2014 and races for Britian’s Royal Yacht Squadron. It joined with Ineos in 2018.

Between them, Team UK have 16 America’s Cup wins and eight Olympic medals.