What will 2024 America's Cup yacht race in Barcelona look like?

Catalan capital will be the seat of the 37th America's Cup sailing race in 2024

One of the yachts taking part in the 2021 America's Cup race
One of the yachts taking part in the 2021 America's Cup race / America's Cup Twitter account

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

March 31, 2022 06:13 PM

Emirates Team New Zealand, the defending champion, has the right to decide where the America's Cup competition will take place and earlier this week it confirmed that the Catalan capital will host the event.  

On Tuesday, the deal was announced by the New Zealanders together with authorities from Barcelona and Catalonia, after officials and businesses lobbied for weeks to prevail against other contenders, such as Málaga (Spain) or Cork (Ireland). 

What do we know about what the yacht race will look like? Here's the Catalan News guide to the basics: 

Where and when it will take place

The Port of Barcelona president, Damià Calvet, said during the announcement that the competition will take place just off the areas between the Port Olímpic and the Hotel Vela. 

The Moll de la Fusta quay will host the village, that is, the commercial area. 

The America's Cup will be held around September and October 2024, with the entire period between the first and last race spanning 14 weeks.

Why Barcelona was chosen

"It was the emotion that we felt as an organization, the friendship, and the warmth that ultimately made the decision," said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. 

In a statement, the organizers said that they are aiming to grow the sport of sailing, and "having the event hosted in a significant city such as Barcelona will allow us to propel the growth trajectory on the global sporting stage."

"Barcelona is a leading city in terms of sustainability and social impact with ambitions to become Europe’s digital and tech capital, so the alignment with the America’s Cup is clear." 

The fact that winds range 9 to 15 knots in Barcelona in September and October makes the city "completely fit for purpose." 

Also, "the marina development and race area in Barcelona will offer excellent shore side facilities for the competing teams, alongside a great event village for fans."

How much it will cost the taxpayer

Business minister Roger Torrent said €70m is needed in investment, of which the Barcelona local council will contribute €10m. It has not yet been revealed where the rest will come from. 

Authorities expect that the impact of the event will surpass €1bn. 

How the competition works

Emirates Team New Zealand is the defending champion of the competition, and this is key because the squadron that prevails gains stewardship of the cup. 

The America's Cup is all about contenders trying to dethrone the current champions. Indeed, there is only one team that challenges the champion, and if more than one vies to do so, they participate in a preliminary competition, Prada Cup. 

In 2024 several teams will take part in the Prada Cup, also to be held in Barcelona right before the America's Cup, and the winner will then challenge Team New Zealand in order to dethrone them. 

Where the teams will have their bases

Calvet said there will be no need to build new venues as already existing buildings will be used. The old 3D Imax cinema will be the base for Team New Zealand – these plans will not collide with the project of to open a second Liceu opera hall venue, which will be located in the space used by the cinema once the building is knocked down. 

The rest of the teams will be working from other nearby locations, such as the Marina 92, Cinesa, and Barcelona Nautic Center areas.

Yet, what will for sure be needed is, at least, to build six concrete structures off the coast so that the teams can have some bases. 

Why the event will be unique

Barcelona will be the first city in the world to ever host the Olympic Games and the America's Cup. Catalan president Pere Aragonès said they aim to organize "the best" America's Cup edition to date. 

Calvet added that the event will be sustainable and that the boats assisting the teams will use clean hydrogen as fuel.