The coastal town of Cascais will play host to the first Americas Cup World Series event scheduled Aug. 6-14. Cascais, about 30 kilometers west of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, has hosted many world championship sailing events and now it’ll host the first event of the ACWS.
The ACWS has been created to make America’s Cup racing a regular feature of the calendar. A champion will be crowned after the first and second seasons, the first of which will begin in August and runs through to mid-2012.
The series this summer will feature the AC45, a one-design, wingsail catamaran created to fast track teams’ knowledge of catamaran sailing. The 45s are a scaled version of the AC72, the catamaran that will be featured in the America’s Cup. The first AC72s are expected in the water early next year.
Cascais, originated in the 12th century, is a suburb of Lisbon. The Portuguese capital boasts a population of approximately 2.5 million people. Belém, a parish of Lisbon, is famous as the port of embarkation for many of the world’s great explorers, such as Vasco de Gamma, who set sail for India in 1497.
After the Cascais event in August, the ACWS moves to Plymouth, England, for Event No. 2, scheduled Sept. 10-18. Plymouth, also, has a long history associated with grand-prix racing. Plymouth hosts the start of the singlehanded transatlantic race and also is the finish port for the legendary Fastnet Race.
And if you’re looking for seafaring heritage, Plymouth is loaded. In 1588 Sir Francis Drake insisted on finishing a game of bowls on the Plymouth Hoe before setting off to engage the Spanish Armada. And in 1620 the Pilgrims embarked on their epic transatlantic journey aboard the Mayflower to settle a colony in America.
Event No. 3 of the ACWS is scheduled for San Diego, Calif., sometime between mid-October and early December. San Diego hosted three America’s Cup matches from 1988 to 1995 as well as many world championship regattas.
Racing is expected to be held on San Diego Bay, maximizing the racing’s exposure to downtown San Diego. Some races were of the 1994 America’s Cup Class World Championship were held on the bay and viewed by large crowds lining the piers and downtown waterfront.
“We have selected venues that reflect both the prestige of the America’s Cup, as well as can bring the action on the water to those on land,” said Richard Worth, chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority. “Similar to San Francisco, all of the inaugural AC World Series venues enable spectators to watch the racing live, which will help expose this great sport to more people worldwide.”
Additional venues and dates for the ACWS will be announced in the future.