On a recent visit to Spain we took time to scope out the venue for the next America’s Cup. We also met with associates to discuss how chartering will fit in with the event. Debate around Emirates Team New Zealand defending the Cup in Europe aside, it is clear that Barcelona is a superb location for this major yachting carnival scheduled for the late northern summer 2024.
The America's Cup in Barcelona
As well as the competition for the Auld Mug itself, the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona will incorporate the first ever Women’s and Youth America’s Cup regattas. The Opening Ceremony is on 22 August 2024 and racing is expected to be concluded by 20th October. For those wishing to be there for the main event, the 37th America’s Cup racing is due to start on Saturday 12 October 2024.
Given our established reputation as a broker with more than 30 years’ experience arranging sailing holidays in the Mediterranean, we have already begun receiving Barcelona charter enquiries for the America’s Cup period.
Historically, Barcelona is not on many peoples' charter radar. Most of the coastline north and south is sandy beach, and there are better cruising options offshore in the Balearic Islands and further north in the Costa Brava (which one of our leading contacts describes as chartering’s “best kept secret”). So it was important we gained some on-site understanding of the amenities and the options for coastal cruising around Barcelona.
The AC75s that will contest the Cup will be housed at Port Vell, adjacent to the old town set around the Gothic Quarter and right across from the famous Las Ramblas. From Port Vell it’s a leisurely 30-minute walk along the wide boardwalk to Port Olympic, the base for the AC40s being used in the Women’s and Youth regattas. Both locations are served by Metro stations.
Looking south from Port Vell, AC racecourse is just out of shot to the right
Port Vell AC Race Village takes shape
This is the heart of tourist Barcelona - the whole area rich in history, culture, seaside activities and hospitality along the golden expanse of Barceloneta. As a leading travel destination, Barcelona has an abundance of attractions off the water and the area is always busy whatever is going on.
The main charter base is at Port Olimpic Marina, like Port Vell currently undergoing development for America's Cup hosting. At Port Olimpic you may charter your floating hotel, on which to cast off at your choosing for the nearby on-water viewing area around the racecourse.
Demand for the relatively small number of boats available in a Port Olimpic berth - all monohulls at this point – will be fierce. So very early bookings are essential.
If considering a Catalan cruise when not race watching, good forward planning is required along this open coast. Blanes, the southern gateway to the Costa Brava is 60km north of Barcelona. Southward the distance to a suitable stopover on the Costa Daurada – beautiful but not well-served by natural anchorages or public marinas - is even greater. Cambrils is 100km away.
The good news is that along the way in both directions, small boat harbours and marinas are situated at convenient intervals. They are all required to have some berths available for transiting boats. But again, demand will be high and good organisation is essential.
Looking north along the Barceloneta boardwalk
A sea of masts on the Catalan coast
Villa Olimpic Towers watch over the marina's transformation for the 'Blue Economy'
Charter boats line up ready for another season
A Balaerics Charter including Catalonia
The most popular itinerary when the America's Cup rolls around is expected to be an extended charter based in the Balaeric Islands. This will necessitate an overnight passage to and from the mainland. What a great sailing holiday experience it makes possible however, for those with time on their side and the necessary sailing experience. Please remember the need to lock in somewhere to tie up at your destination.
The Balaeric Islands are right up there as one of the best Mediterranean sailing destinations. The major charter base at Palma on the largest island Majorca puts you within easy reach of the next biggest Menorca as well. An extended passage takes you to the more southerly islands of Ibiza and Formentera. There are smaller bases situated on Ibiza as well - closer to Valencia's charter scene, but further from Barcelona.
Plan ahead and get the best out of your Sailing Charter in Spain
With multiple options available, a late-season 2024 sailing charter in Spain incorporating America’s Cup viewing opens up a world of travel possibilities. Those same options present some planning challenges - starting with getting in early. At Sail Connections we can assist with all the details of the charter of a lifetime that AC37 presents for avid sailors and their support crews. The early birds will get the best boats in the right time slots at the most convenient locations. So register your interest now, and be part of one of 2024’s sporting travel highlights.