Australian Women’s Challenge announced for 37th America’s Cup
Australia is bidding to return to the cauldron of the world’s oldest sporting trophy competition, The America’s Cup, with an Australian Women’s Challenge announced today to compete at the Barcelona 37th America’s Cup in its newest iteration – a women’s regatta in 2024.
Australian Olympic medallists Olivia Price and Nina Curtis will spearhead the athletes syndicate to trailblaze a new sporting frontier with the announcement of the campaign to mount a national team and entry to join 9 countries so far signed up to the competition.
The two skippers announced they would be starting expressions of interest and trials to recruit leading foiling Australian female sailors to build a trophy winning crew to compete in the all new AC40 foiling class yachts in October 2024.
Simultaneously a campaign for the challenge was launched to attract sponsorship and supporters for the 20-month journey to the start line on October 10th, 2024.
The dual London Olympic silver medallists are active professional sailors, with Price recently winning the Sail Melbourne competition with her 49erFX team-mate Evie Haseldine on the road to their Paris Olympic 2024 campaign, and Curtis the tactician on the Australian Sail GP to a record breaking first ever female win and season title last year.
“America’s Cup is the pinnacle event of our sport. For women to at last be invited to compete is history making and a watershed moment we had only dreamt of,” Price said.
“We have achieved at the very highest levels that women in our sport have been given access to. This is a new threshold and we are ambitious and excited to be part of history in the making,” she continued.
Curtis, who has announced her pregnancy but remains working on the Sail GP Australian team, described the campaign as the opportunity of a lifetime, saying it was an honour to pioneer inclusivity and access for women in sailing in such a male dominated sport.
“It is a long held dream we both shared from a young age. The America’s Cup was written into our national psyche when Australia II rewrote history and John Bertrand’s team won it off the USA. It’s pretty exciting to think we could now help write a new chapter in Australia’s sailing and America’s Cup history,” she said.
Campaign Chair Annick Donat said the incredible depth and breadth of female sailing skills in Australia made it virtually an obligation to mount a campaign for this prestige event. When asked why she joined the campaign team, Donat said “It’s a unique moment in history for women in sport, and sailing in particular and our sailors have an excellent track record of successful regattas. I am looking forward to speaking with companies about how they can support the campaign through sponsorship opportunities. It will be great to see Australian corporate and public community get behind this team all to way the finish line”.
The technology behind the brand-new design AC40 foiling yachts, which hold a crew of 4, enables speeds up to 85klm and hour. The competition will feature up to 12 women’s teams in Barcelona, competing on identical boats provided to the teams in both fleet and match racing modes. The Australian team plans to access a simulator on home soil and get on the water in trial yachts in Europe in the lead up.
Once in Barcelona, team weights will be equalised for a strict format competition run on the most modern sailing technology and relying on true sailing talent on the water. Shoreside the women’s teams will be based in Port Olimpic in the heart of the Barcelona beachfront, right in the vibrant action centre of AC37. The Women’s final will be globally broadcast on the third day of the Men’s Racing, a global viewership that has exceeded 940 million in the last America’s Cup broadcast.