First, a little background on this round of the Cup cycle -
All races of the America's Cup will be held in Bermuda in June of 2017. The competition will be held in a new design called the AC Class, or some call it the AC50 to distinguish it from prior designs (49.2' long, Wing 78.6' tall) which are foiling catamarans. Each team designs and builds their own boats.
All racing is done in the "match racing" format where only two boats race against each other at one time. Oracle Team USA first won the America's Cup in 2010 in Valencia Spain and won again after completing their epic comeback from 8-1 down in San Francisco Bay, CA in 2013.
This means they are automatically in the finals as the "defending team" in 2017. The other five teams are: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron; Yacht Club de France; Royal Yacht Squadron (England); Kansai Yacht Club (Japan); and Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet (Sweden) all compete against each other in match race format to determine the challenger to go against Oracle Team USA representing Golden Gate Yacht Club.
Qualifier Series May 26 - June 5, 2017 - 4 Teams Advance, 1 Team Knocked Out. Seedings are determined by the America's Cup World Series.
Challenger Play Offs June 7 - 12, 2017 - 1 Team Advances, 3 Teams Knocked Out.
America's Cup Finals June 17-27, 2017 - 1 win point per race, first to 7 points wins.
It seems like a gyp that one team is automatically in the finals without having to compete to get there (Oracle Team USA). While they do practice in the AC45's in the ACWS (different boats and fleet racing), they also get to compete in the qualifier series in Bermuda in the AC50's and in match racing format. But Oracle Team USA does not participate in the Challenger Play Offs. Oracle Team USA is the only one who gets to build two boats for practice against themselves, and must use the first boat they built in the finals. Even if they wreck their first build, they cannot use their second build.
The J-Class Yachts (America's Cup boats from 1914 - 1937) are holding a separate regatta in Bermuda in boats 119' - 139' long in June of 2017. Eight J-Class yachts are expected to attend (2 originals from the America's Cup). These are huge powerful monstrosities. This will be fleet racing.
RED BULL YOUTH AMERICA'S CUP
Red Bull Youth America's Cup is a separate event occurring in Bermuda with ages 19 - 23, the final format for the event has not yet been announced, but is expected to have ten national teams competing in June of 2017. These will be held in the identically built one-design AC45's (45' feet long, wing mast 70.5' tall) that were used during the ACWS. The format is fleet racing with all boats on the starting line together and first to finish in each race wins.
LOUIS VUITTON AMERICA'S CUP WORLD SERIES
Then there is the America's Cup World Series (ACWS). It is a roadshow to build excitement worldwide, mixed with the teams sparing against each other in the AC45's which is a new feature this time around. These are foiling catamarans. It does develop the seedings for the America's Cup Trials with the top two teams carry forward points (one or two respectively) into the qualifiers. The format is fleet racing.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom July 23 - 26, 2015
Gothenburg, Sweden August 28 - 30, 2015
Hamilton, Bermuda October 16 - 18, 2015
Oman, February 27 - 28, 2016?
New York, NY May 7 - 8, 2016
***Chicago, USA June 10 - 12, 2016***
Portsmouth, United Kingdom July 22 - 24, 2016
Gothenburg, Sweden August, 2016? TBD
Toulon, France September 10-11, 2016
Fukuoka, Japan November 18-20, 2016
Finally, now for Lake Michigan's part of all of this...............................
CHICAGO HOSTS LOUIS VUITTON AMERICA'S CUP WORLD SERIES JUNE 10 - 12, 2016
Two races Saturday, Two double point races Sunday.
This is the first time America's Cup racing has ever been held on fresh water. Navy Pier serves as the event village. The race course will be set up such that the racing is focused around the East End of Navy Pier with the finish line always directly off the pier.
Boats will be launched in the early part on Thursday June 9, 2016 at Navy Pier. Wings will be assembled in the Festival Hall in Navy Pier and brought down the truck ramp on the North side of the pier. Wings will be installed in the boats and remain standing until the regatta is over. All 6 boats will be at anchor between Navy Pier and the Water Filtration Plant until Sunday after racing.
There will be public viewing available of the launch, and retrieval of the boats. This information will be available at a later date.
Members of the ACEA Team were in Chicago two weeks ago to view the facilities and racing area, and it was a beautiful weather week in Chicago. They love the venue.
Thank you to the Chicago Match Race Center. Without them, this event would not have ever happened.
Note - 11/18/2015 minor edits were made for clarification.
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