The final base allocations have been confirmed as Barcelona begins preparations for the 37th America’s Cup and soon, the builders will move in as each team constructs their own base with a concentration on form, function and fan engagement.
Emirates Team New Zealand, as holders of the Cup were the first to select and have secured the corner area on the promontory that leads out to the impressive World Trade Center where the media centre and America’s Cup Event offices are housed. Currently the facility is a port terminal – the Terminal Drassanes – and a rather large ship arrives late in the afternoon to offload lorries and passengers from the nearby Balearic Islands. Crucially though for ETNZ, the team are in the heart of the action at the western end of the planned America’s Cup fan village and within easy walking distance of the downtown La Rambla causeway. The famous statue of Christopher Columbus is actually pointing at the Kiwi’s new base – you can’t miss it!
A stroll down the port through the fan village or across the La Rambla del Mar extending bridge leads to another significant promontory out to Port Vell that houses a disused IMAX cinema that last saw operation some eight years ago, the must-see aquarium and a popular shopping mall – the Maremagnum. And it’s here on this busy stretch where both INEOS Britannia and Alinghi Red Bull Racing will be housed with the superyacht harbour out to the south and the classy Real Club Nautic de Barcelona yacht club looking out on the waterfront of the downtown district.
As Challenger of Record, INEOS Britannia had second choice for the base selection and have opted for a coach park area that fronts onto the current superyacht mooring facility adjacent to the condemned IMAX. Alinghi Red Bull Racing will be nestled between the aquarium and the shopping centre and with the marketing might of Red Bull, will be able to capitalise on significant footfall in the area. It will be exciting to see what the base architects have in store.
For Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and American Magic, both teams have opted for bases further around the port on its southern flank out towards the imposing W Hotel where viewing galleries and hospitality facilities are planned to watch the racing just yards off the beachfront. The Italians will be housed to the western end of the port entrance just down from the Barcelona Nautic Center that is being used as the temporary base for Alinghi Red Bull Racing, in an area that is currently disused and something of a blank canvas for the most stylish team in the America’s Cup.
The American Magic Team will make their new home within the Marina Barcelona 92 superyacht facility that currently houses some extraordinary vessels being refitted. The base area will be accessed off the Passeig de Joan de Borbo which is the less scenic route down to the W Hotel shrouded by functional port buildings but within striking distance of the bustling beachfront promenade – a natural viewing point for the Cup races.
America’s Cup Events Limited have also earmarked an area across the busy port to the west of the World Trade Center in the current Grimaldi Lines dock as a possible base should there be any late entrants as outlined in the Protocol governing the 37th America’s Cup.
It’s going to be a busy time around the port as teams start their base construction and it will be fascinating to see the regeneration all around the port area as work progresses. Downtown Barcelona is a vibrant, busy area in high summer with wonderful restaurants and an always changing vista housing thousands of boats of all shapes and sizes – the epicentre for an America’s Cup like no other. It will be fabulous.
The confirmed base list is as follows:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand: World Trade Centre/Balearic Ferry Site
2. INEOS Britannia: IMAX/Coach Park
3. Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Cinesa/Placa de L’Odessa Site
4. Luna Ross Prada Pirelli Team: Moll Levant Site
5. NYYC American Magic: Marina Barcelona (MB) 92 Site