A reinvigorated Youth America’s Cup regatta will be raced in a new class of foiling monohull – the AC9F – in 2020 and 2021.

The Youth America’s Cup is a joint initiative between The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), the China Sports Industry Group (CSIG), and Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ).

The multi-leg event begins with a fleet-racing seeding event in China in November 2020, a match-racing event in Auckland from February 18-23 (next year), and then the finals from March 8-12, 2021.

The AC9F is a 9m foiling monohull designed by Auckland’s Yachting Developments (YDL) with valuable input from the ETNZ design team, Southern Spars, North Sails and significant support from the wider New Zealand marine Industry. The fleet of one-design boats will be built primarily at YDL in Auckland.

In line with the original America’s Cup Deed of Gift, it is designed to be a ‘friendly competition between yacht clubs of all nations’. Unlike previous editions, multiple entries from various countries will be allowed.


Age restriction rules limit crews to 18-24 years. To encourage diversity, teams will consist of a mixed crew of four sailors on each boat – two females and two males – with a maximum crew weight of 311kg.

“The Youth America’s Cup is something we’ve been eager to see established since we won the America’s Cup and also introduced foiling monohulls to the America’s Cup with the AC75,” says ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton.

“Probably the most important aspect is the establishment of a pathway or stepping stone this creates for the best young guys and girls from around the world to progress one step closer to sailing on an AC75 in the future. Our current team is made up of a number of crew members from the winning 2013 Youth AC team.”

RNZYS Commodore and Yachting Developments owner Ian Cook says the yachts will provide a great challenge for the sailors. “We believe they will generate great competition and an even playing field for all the teams involved, while also leading from the front in terms of modern yacht design, and importantly, creating a great product for fans around the world to observe.”

“We are excited to introduce the Youth America’s Cup into China,” says Wang Weidong, Chairman of CSIG. “The America’s Cup has been the holy grail of sailing for over 160 years. China has a plethora of athletes with the potential, along with the required diligence and learning skills, but lacking experience at global professional competitions. We hope that Youth America’s Cup will be the first step for these young Chinese talents to take as they strive to catch up with their leading peers in the world.”

The RNZYS celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2021 and Vice Commodore Aaron Young says they really wanted to bring an event to the table that will create a superb legacy for the Squadron’s celebrations and for the future of youth sailing.

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