The 2021 America's Cup has formally lost a contender.
While it has appeared for some time that Stars and Stripes Team USA, sailing out of the Long Beach Yacht Club, would not make the starting line, the syndicate has now officially withdrawn from the 36th edition of the regatta.
Sailing magazine Latitude 38 reported the Long Beach Yacht Club sent club members a letter this week which informed them of the decision, and thanked them for the tremendous effort put into trying to bring the challenge to life.
A late entry to the 2021 regatta, Stars and Stripes battled financial pressure over the past two years while trying to ready their challenge, missing a series of important deadlines.
In July, the American syndicate were hopeful of being able to purchase the first boat of another team in time to sail in this month's Christmas Cup regatta, but the arbitration panel ruled against it because of the country of origin rule over hull construction in the large and complicated boats.
Stars and Stripes being ruled out means all of the late entry challengers have withdrawn, which included other syndicates from Malta and the Netherlands.
That leaves just the three original challengers – New York Yacht Club's American Magic, Ineos Team UK, and the challenger of record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – to compete for the right to face Team New Zealand in the America's Cup match early next year.
The four remaining teams have been active on the Auckland waters this week, going through various practice sessions in preparation for the America's Cup World Series regatta next week, which begins on December 17. While the team have had the opportunity to run through some non-race situations this week, the regatta will be the first opportunity for official, competitive racing in the 75ft foiling monohulls.
The first three days of the World Series will see four races per day of round-robin competition when all of the four teams will race each other twice.
The fourth day (Christmas Cup race) will be comprised of two knockout stages, the first consisting of two head-to-head matchups, with the winners of each progressing to the final and the losers to a third/fourth match which will help decide the final rankings.
The pairing for the Christmas race semifinals will be decided by the results of the World Series double round-robin.
Enjoy smooth sailing to the Cup with Auckland Transport
• Avoid traffic congestion and parking niggles and download the AT Mobile app to plot your bus, train or ferry ride to race venues before you leave home.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride to the Cup
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup