Onsite at the bustling race village at the northern end of the Jeddah Corniche, the boats have been shipped and are being rigged in preparation for sailing by the America’s Cup shore teams who are busy in their preparations for what promises to be the undisputed highlight of the 2023 sailing calendar.
On the water, Alinghi Red Bull Racing from Switzerland were already out training in Jeddah yesterday- continuing their race preparations where they experienced first-hand a variety of conditions sailing on the Jeddah Corniche racecourse, just yards off the breakwater and the perfect natural spectator amphitheatre. It’s here where the racing will take place and with November being a ‘transitional month,’ a number of variables could come into play but thankfully the forecast for the regatta week is looking very promising.
The current weather forecasts for next week point to around 8-13 knots from the north-west, sunny and 30 degrees. Jeddah is a warm climate destination at this time of the year with an average mean water temperature in the Red Sea at 30.7 degrees throughout the year – an interesting fact is that even at a depth of 3000 metres, recorded sea temperatures are still 22 degrees Celsius – that’s a solid block of temperate water that shows no sign of dissipating.
One aside that has been frequently observed is the seaweed that grows in abundance in the temperate waters and also dozens of flying fish were observed breaking the water’s surface on a daily basis. Jeddah and the Red Sea are host to a wide variety of marine wildlife with an abundance of Tuna, Kingfish, Barracuda, and Snapper whilst the wider area is a breeding ground for Whale Sharks who very rarely leave the Red Sea.
Jeddah is ready to welcome spectators with the fan zone set-up complete with big screens, a stage and multiple team and event activations to entertain the crowds that are expected to attend. Jeddah has a youthful population with a keen interest in world-class sporting events and the free-to-enter fan zone promises something for all ages whilst inspiring the next generation of Saudi boys and girls to participate in the sport of sailing. The professional sailors of the America’s Cup will be presented daily to the audience at the pre dock-out show and will also be on stage after racing.
All the racing will be shown free-to-air globally on YouTube whilst locally the Saudi Sports Channel will also be streaming the races live on MBC’s Shahid platform. Entry to the Fan Zone and Race Village is also free and tickets can be obtained through the America’s Cup website and the Opening Ceremony will take place on the main stage in the America’s Cup Race Village from 5pm on Wednesday 29th November.
The teams can expect a warm welcome in the Kingdom with the event hosts, the Saudi Sailing Federation and the Jeddah Yacht Club & Marina, rolling out the red carpet for the America’s Cup community. The facilities are world class, and the sailing area promises to be one of the finest ever seen for America’s Cup racing as well as being a serious challenge for the sailors.
It’s all eyes on Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, now for the America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta, presented by NEOM and the next stop on the magical journey to the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona in 2024.
Wednesday 29 November: Official Practice Race Day
Thursday 30 November: First Day of Racing
Friday 1 December: Second Day of Racing
Saturday 2 December: Third & Final Day of Racing and Prizegiving
- 8.00am – 12pm: Local Academy sailing activities and on/off-water exhibitions.
- 11:00am – 11.45am: Introducing the teams as they take to the water in the daily ‘Dock Out Show.’
- 1.00pm: Race Village & Fan Zone opens to the public.
- 1.00pm – 1.30pm: America’s Cup Show begins on main stage with live hosts, followed by racing previews.
- 1:30pm – 3.30pm: AC40 Racing – live coverage on stage and big screens.
- 5:45pm – 6.30pm: Post-race interviews with athletes on main stage.
- 6:00pm – 7.00pm: Public entertainment on main stage and screens.
- (FINAL DAY 2 Dec) 4.45pm – 7.30pm: Final prizegiving with the winning team and closing speeches.
- 10pm: Race Village & Fan Zone closes.