Olivia Price (left) and Nina Curtis will lead the Australian Women's Challenge. Photo: Salty Dingo

Australian Women’s Challenge launched for inaugural Women’s America’s Cup

CYCA Member Olivia Price and Nina Curtis will lead the Australian challenge for the inaugural Women’s America’s Cup in 2024.

The Australian Women’s Challenge was announced on 23 February 2023, with Olympic silver medallists Price and Curtis leading the team to compete at the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona.

Price and Curtis have opened expressions of interest and trials to recruit Australian female sailors to race on the AC40 foiling yacht which will be used in Barcelona, with a crew of four on board.

“The America’s Cup is the pinnacle event of our sport. For women to at last be invited to compete is history making and a watershed moment we had only dreamt of,” Price said.

“We have achieved at the very highest levels that women in our sport have been given access to. This is a new threshold and we are ambitious and excited to be part of history in the making.”

Curtis, who has announced her pregnancy but remains part of the Australia SailGP team, described the campaign as the opportunity of a lifetime, saying it is an honour to pioneer inclusivity and access for women in sailing.

“It is a long held dream we both shared from a young age,” Curtis said. “The America’s Cup was written into our national psyche when Australia II rewrote history and John Bertrand’s team won it off the USA.

“It’s pretty exciting to think we could now help write a new chapter in Australia’s sailing and America’s Cup history.”

Campaign Chair Annick Donat said the incredible depth and breadth of female sailing in Australia made it virtually an obligation to mount a campaign for this prestigious event.

When asked why she joined the campaign team, Donat said: “It’s a unique moment in history for women in sport, and sailing in particular. Our sailors have an excellent track record of successful regattas.  

“I am looking forward to speaking with companies about how they can support the campaign through sponsorship opportunities.  It will be great to see Australian corporations and the public get behind this team all to way the finish line.”

The technology behind the newly-designed AC40 foiling yachts enables speeds up to 85km/hr.

The Women’s America’s Cup will feature up to 12 women’s teams, competing on identical boats provided to the teams in both fleet and match racing modes.

The Australian team plans to access a simulator on home soil and get on the water in trial yachts in Europe in the lead up.

Shoreside the women’s teams will be based in Port Olimpic in the heart of the Barcelona beachfront, right in the vibrant action centre of AC37.

The Women’s America’s Cup Final will be globally broadcast on the third day of AC37. The broadcast of the 36th America’s Cup attracted a global viewership of more than 940 million people.

About the Women’s America’s Cup

Only 12 national teams will be scheduled to compete in the AC37 Women’s America’s Cup in Barcelona in October 2024. Canada, the Netherlands and Spain have been announced to date to join the existing six America’s Cup teams sending women’s squads – New Zealand, Great Britain, Italy, USA, France and Switzerland.

America’s Cup Event CEO Grant Dalton said the event was attracting the finest female sailors on the planet in possibly the most exciting 40-foot boats on the planet.

About Olivia Price

  • Youngest sailor to win an Olympic medal aged 20 – Silver, London 2012
  • Australian Sailing Team member, skippering the 49erFX for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
  • Winner of Sail Melbourne 49erFX competition 2023
  • Sole female in the SuperFoiler Grand Prix circuit 2018
  • Australian Sailing Female Sailor of the Year 2012
  • Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship for Sailing 2013
  • Public speaker, broadcaster and commentator on TV, including SailGP

About Nina Curtis

  • Only female athlete member of the 2022 World Sailing Team of the Year – Australian SailGP Team
  • NSW/ACT Female Sailor of the Year 2022
  • Sail GP Season 2 Champion – Australia SailGP Team
  • First female athlete to win a SailGP and season title
  • Australian Sailing Female Sailor of the Year 2010 & 2012
  • Olympic silver medallist London 2012 Olympic Games
  • 3rd overall in 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race – Team Brunel

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