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America's Cup: Jeddah announced as venue for second Preliminary Regatta

by America's Cup Media 28 Apr 2023 02:13 PDT 30 November - 3 December 2023
Jeddah Yacht Club - America's Cup 37, Preliminary Regatta 2023 - April 30, 2023 © Ian Roman

The second preliminary regatta of the 37th America's Cup will be held on the waters of the Red Sea in Jeddah from 30th November - 3rd December 2023.

It will be the only venue outside of Spain to host an America's Cup regatta during the 37th America's Cup cycle.

The announcement comes just prior to the AC37 Protocol deadline requiring the publication of the 2023 preliminary regatta venues and dates by April 30th.

Racing in the one design AC40's will happen just off the race village and the Jeddah Yacht Club adjacent to the spectacular F1 track on Jeddah's corniche.

The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Sport and the Saudi Sailing Federation who have significant ambitions for the rapid growth of sailing in Saudi Arabia across many top-level sailing events and classes as part of its 'Vision 2030'.

"As the pinnacle of sailing, I know the 37th America's Cup and this preliminary regatta can be utilised as an event for positive influence on a number of fronts," said AC37 Event CEO Grant Dalton.

"When standing back and looking at the opportunity for the growth of our sport that exists in the region it is truly significant. 67% of the country's population is under the age of 34 years old, women's participation in sport or physical activity is up 149% in recent years. So, we have a unique chance to grow sailing and create new connections with the unprecedented sustainability projects within the Red Sea that can transform lives through sailing and the technologies associated with it."

The global audience of the America's Cup grew by a factor of three after the 36th America's Cup and having a tangible presence in the Middle East with a completely new audience will help to grow the sport and opportunities.

"This is one of the fastest growing sports markets in the world and has a maritime heritage that is ready to be reignited for all Saudi women and men." explained Samia Bagdady CEO of the Saudi Sailing Federation, a kite surfer and sailor herself.

"Sailing is in its infancy at the moment, but the potential is huge with 9 million people living on the Red Sea coast and fantastic sailing conditions all year round. The America's Cup and the exciting foiling AC40's racing with the world's best sailors is the perfect catalyst to inspire our people toward sailing and widen access to the Red Sea which has always been an important part of Saudi Arabia's history and heritage and is integral to Saudi's sustainable future. We want to bring the joy and excitement of sailing to Saudi's young and old, and one day see an Olympic, Ocean Race or America's Cup champion representing our country."

World Sailing, of which the Saudi Sailing Federation is affiliated as a World Sailing Member National Authority, supports their vision and objectives as World Sailing CEO David Graham explains, "World Sailing's objective is to grow our great sport globally, and certainly Saudi Arabia is a region that is ready and willing to embrace sailing and the marine sector, and develop the sport through their sailing federation.

"They have a number of sailing events on the horizon, the pinnacle of which will be the staging of the 37th America's Cup Second Preliminary Regatta from 30th November, which we support and look forward to the exciting prospect of the AC40s being raced in Jeddah."

Hassan Kabbani, Chairman of the Saudi Sailing Federation said, "We welcome the America's Cup organisation and sailors from around the world to Saudi Arabia and to Jeddah. It is an honour to be selected to host an America's Cup Preliminary Regatta and to be able to showcase to the sailing community the wonderful conditions we have. I can assure everyone of a warm welcome.

"The America's Cup Preliminary Regatta will help us to accelerate the growth of sailing in Saudi Arabia. We will use it to kick-start a number of new initiatives including a Discover Sailing programme to encourage people on to the water, and a Performance Pathway for talented sailors to train to compete at the top level."

From November 30, 2023 to December 3, 2023 the global America's Cup audience will be tuning in free to air to see the America's Cup teams resume their on-water rivalry before the close of 2023, "This will be the last significant act of 2023," said Dalton

"It may not seem like much, but no team will want to be going into 2024 - the year of the America's Cup at the bottom of the leader board or having shown vulnerability in their sailing team less than a year out from the start of the America's Cup. It will be pressure no one needs especially as the next time the team's race will be just prior to the Challenger Selection Series in the final preliminary regatta in Barcelona raced in the AC75's."

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