The road to the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup Barcelona is underway with the Preliminary Regattas that serve as warm-up races ahead of the Louis Vuitton Cup (Challenger Selection Series).

The first preliminary regatta was held in Vilanova i La Geltrú from 14th to 17th September 2023. The teams then headed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta Jeddah, presented by NEOM from 29th November to 2nd December 2023. The third and last preliminary regatta will be held in August 2024 in Barcelona.

The six America’s Cup teams faced three intense days of AC40 fleet and match racing in Vilanova and in Jeddah, and MarkSetBot reported for duty, forming the on-water stadium and proving its reliability and impact by transforming the spectator race experience in every condition. 

MSB App Screenshot

MarkSetBot autonomous buoys have made both environmental and programmatic impacts on course management. Bots cut down on the number of course marshal RIBs required and eliminated the need to anchor or disrupt the seabed. Twenty MarkSetBots with bright, color-coded topsides set a visible boundary for spectators and formed a dynamic stadium for the AC40’s to compete in, keeping the racing safe and compact.

Iain Murray, Regatta Director, commented, “The Bots performed impressively for the Preliminary Regattas. Setting up and adjusting the 20 stadium boundary marks many times throughout each day of racing was a breeze. The resets took just minutes and equally important, no seabed damage.” MarkSetBot’s rapid adjustments to the stadium boundary kept spectators close to the action, a feat impossible with traditional anchored buoys.

“MarkSetBot was definitely an enhancement to course operations,” Rob Andrews, America’s Cup Director of On Water Operations added. “We were able to adjust the stadium footprint as the racecourse changed with the wind, keeping spectator boats as close as possible to the action. It was also wonderful having [MarkSetBot] founder Kevin Morin on race operations, as he was able to develop new features in real time to simplify management.”

The America’s Cup journey continues in 2024 and next up, MarkSetBot will head to Barcelona for the final Preliminary Regatta where all America’s Cup teams will race in their new AC75s for the first time.