Summer Is Calling: What You Need To Know To Get In On The PRADA Cup Action This Weekend

Press Release – Auckland Unlimited

With four days of America’s Cup action under Auckland’s belt, the city is gearing up to host the next event of the racing cycle on 15 January: the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series, a five week-long racing spectacle to determine who will take on Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup Match in March.

But the on-water racing is just the start of the excitement in store for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland as the city kicks off the New Year.

Summernova, Auckland Unlimited’s summer festival series designed to coincide with the 36th America’s Cup, will deliver a stellar line-up of events across the region complemented by annual favourites, including Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, Auckland Lantern Festival and more. Here’s what you need to know to start your summer off right.

An insider’s guide to the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series

From 15 January to 22 February, The PRADA Cup will consist of four round robins of three races each, a seven-race Semi-Final series and 13-race Final between the two leading teams. Each win earns one point, with the first to earn seven points in the Final series winning the PRADA Cup and progressing to the Match.

Scheduled racing days include:

  • 15 – 17 January Round Robins 1 & 2 (racing between 1500 – 1700),
  • 22 – 24 January Round Robins 3 & 4 (racing between 1500 – 1700),
  • 29 – 31 January, 2 February Semi-Finals (racing between 1500 – 1700), and
  • 13 – 14 Feb, 17 Feb, 19 – 22 Feb Finals (racing between 1600 – 1800).

Reserve dates are also in place should a race not be able to take place due to weather or other conditions.

One of five designated course areas on the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf will be chosen each race day, with the Race Director’s decision having a significant bearing on on-land viewing options.

Course selections will be shared on a range of channels, including the official America’s Cup website and social media channels. For further information including race schedule and how to watch, go to

And of course, with the racing completely free to air on TVNZ 1, YouTube and the Official America’s Cup website, fans can also watch from activation sites and restaurants and bars across the city.

December racing saw thousands turn out on-land and on-water, with millions tuning on their screens across New Zealand and the world.

Delivered by the Challenger of Record, the PRADA Cup will offer racing fans the chance to see how New York Yacht Club American Magic, INEOS Team UK and Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli test the speed and precision of their AC75 yachts without the defender in the ring.

As Francesco Longanesi Cattani, Challenger of Record 36 Chief Executive Officer Representative and Title Sponsor Liaison explains, the event will show who has what it takes to win the oldest trophy in international sport.

“To win the America’s Cup first you have to win the PRADA Cup; if the first win will be extremely difficult, the latter won’t be easy,” says Cattani.

“The three challengers are all very strong. What we learned during the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland is that these extremely talented sailors have rapidly become confident in racing their AC75s to offer very exciting, close racing.

All this is very promising, and I believe everybody is looking forward to a Challenger Selection Series that’s a close battle to win the PRADA Cup,” Cattani says.

What’s on in Auckland outside of the racing

Summernova will also bring the heat to Auckland this summer, with a stellar line-up of more than 20 events spreading the thrill and vibrancy of the 36th America’s Cup throughout the region.

The programme of food and wine festivals, live music, arts and cultural showcases, sporting events and more will help to broaden the event experience and ensure everyone can get in on the action, says Auckland Unlimited General Manager Destination Steve Armitage.

“With an event the size and scale of the 36th America’s Cup, our aim has always been to develop an activation programme that goes beyond the on-water action,” says Armitage.

“Summernova does just that – spanning the four-month event period to create opportunities for Aucklanders and overseas visitors alike to take part in the excitement and reconnect with each other after what’s been an incredibly challenging year.”

“It’s been a pleasure for Auckland Unlimited to partner with some of the region’s leading event organisers and community groups to deliver a festival programme that celebrates our creative industries and everything that makes our Tāmaki Makaurau unique.”

During the PRADA Cup racing window (15 Jan – 22 Feb), Summernova will ensure there’s never a dull moment in the city, with events including:

  • Morning People on Waiheke (23 January)
  • SeePort Festival (31 Jan)
  • Louis Baker and Auckland Philarmonia Orchestra (11 Feb)
  • Street Kai on Takutai (12 Feb)
  • Bike AKL Bike Rave 2021: The Sundowner Edition (13 Feb)
  • Sunsetter Food, Wine & Music Festival (13 Feb)
  • Young at Art (21 Feb – 21 March)
  • Auckland Live Summer in the Square (Ongoing, Dec – Feb)
  • Love Your Maunga ki Maungauika (Multiple Dates, Dec – March)
  • WE-AR Summernova Yoga (Multiple dates, Feb – March)
  • Sustainable Coastlines Summernova Series (Multiple Dates, Dec – March)
  • Summernova Festival at the Village (Multiple Dates, Dec – March)
  • Satellite Show of Toi Tū Toi Ora (Ongoing, Dec – March)

Two of Auckland’s biggest cultural festivals will add to the festivities on the waterfront, with Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival (23 Jan) and Auckland Lantern Festival (25 – 28 Feb) both taking place in the heart of the city with fantastic views of the Waitematā, Rangitoto and Auckland city centre.

Both events are delivered by Auckland Unlimited, the region’s cultural and economic agency, on behalf of Auckland Council.

Auckland Weekend Planner – January & February 2021

  • 15 – 17 Jan – The first weekend of round robin racing, the weekend of 15 Jan will mark the start of the PRADA Cup and the beginning of racing in 2021. For racing fans, this will be an unmissable opportunity to eye up the competition and see improvements made by syndicates over the Christmas holiday period.

The America’s Cup Race Village will be z, as will Auckland Live Summer in the Square which will show the action on the big screen followed by live DJs on Friday and Saturday night.

  • 22 – 24 Jan – There’s be no better celebration of Tamaki Makaurau’s deep-rooted maritime traditions than Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival (23 Jan), a 12-hour extravaganza delivered in partnership with Mana Whenua. The Waitematā Harbour will come to life on Saturday with a stunning juxtaposition of high-speed America’s Cup yacht sailing by day, and Waka Hourua sailings and storytelling by night.

Held on Captain Cook Wharf, Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival will be a short walk from the America’s Cup Race Village and the perfect stop on the way to or from the action. Highlights of the 2021 festival include a Māori marketplace, stage performances by Trinity Roots and Maisey Rika, Rongoā Māori, a 50m live art installation, kapa haka performances and a laser and fireworks display.

Auckland Live Summer in the Square will also be activated, showing the action on the big screen followed by live DJs on Friday and Saturday night, while buskers will bring the city to life throughout the weekend as part of the Auckland International Buskers Festival.

  • 29 – 31 Jan – With teams battling it out to earn their spot in the next round of the selection series, the PRADA Cup Semi-Finals will have racing fans on the edge of their seats. In observation of Auckland Anniversary Day, races will take place on the 29, 30 and 31 Jan and resume on 2 Feb.

For Aucklanders staying in the city, SeePort will be the place to be when the racing finishes on Sunday. Ports of Auckland’s cornerstone community event, SeePort is back in 2021, bringing Captain Cook Wharf to life with activations, music and fireworks. Free for the whole family, SeePort will feature a stellar line-up of local talent, including the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, White Chapel Jak, Sweet Mix Kids and more along with a dazzling firework show after dark.

Auckland Live Summer in the Square will also be activated, showing the action on the big screen followed by live DJs on Friday and Saturday night.

  • 12 – 14 Feb – With 13 races scheduled across seven days (plus four reserve dates) the PRADA Cup Finals begin 13 Feb and mark the beginning of the end of the Challenger Selection Series. The weekend will also feature four knock out Summernova events, including Louis Baker and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on Thursday (11 Feb) at Auckland Town Hall, with the singer-songwriter infusing his own brand of modern soul with the pure symphonic power of APO.

Next up, there will be no better place to indulge on Friday than Street Kai on Takutai, which will feature a full day of local musical talent and kai from some of the city’s favourite street food vendors.

Finally, let loose on Saturday with Sunsetter Food, Wine and Music Festival, a one-day festival which will transform Smales Farm into a unique urban oasis of beats, eats and refreshments from a truly impressive array of NZ wineries and craft breweries. And of course, Bike AKL’s Bike Rave 2021: The Sundowner Edition, the best fancy-dress party on two wheels.

Auckland Live Summer in the Square will also be activated, showing the action on the big screen followed by live DJs on Friday and Saturday night.

Additional notes to the Editor

Let’s all do our part to make summer unstoppable. If you’re heading to the America’s Cup Race Village, be sure to scan the QR code at the gates when entering the Americas Cup Race Village using the NZ COVID-19 Tracer App.

December racing by the numbers:

Race Village estimated 65,000 over the four days

Spectator boats on water 600 – 1000 each day (estimate only)

City Skipper Volunteers 360 volunteers over the four days

Summernova events estimated 20,600 across three venues, over four days

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