History will be made in October 2024 when Canada sends a team to race in the first-ever Women’s America’s Cup in Barcelona, Spain. Sponsored by Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (RVYC), the Canadian women’s team will be led by Canada’s top racer and RVYC member Isabella Bertold, and is the only Canadian entry into the 2024 America’s Cup races.
Team Canada’s four-person crew will be skippered by Bertold, with the remaining three positions to be recruited from Canada’s best female sailors. The Canadian team organization is led by CEO Jim Turner, who is an Olympian, 15-time world champion, and three-time America’s Cup racer.
“Sailing is a unique sport in that men and women can compete head-to-head on an equal playing field. I know this because I grew up racing against the men. I went on to win multiple World Cup medals and achieve a world ranking of second,” said Bertold.
The RVYC is the only Canadian yacht club to be invited to participate in the 37th America’s Cup by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, who holds the Deed of the Gift as the last winner of the America’s Cup. Team Canada’s training centre will be at RVYC’s Jericho facility, where Bertold is a prominent member of the racing community.
The 37th America’s Cup will feature six men’s teams and up to 12 women’s teams, with each women’s team racing an identical 40-foot carbon composite monohull foiling sailboat (AC40) reaching speeds of 75 kilometres per hour. In the summer of 2024, the AC40 racing boat will be available for public viewing in Vancouver at the AC Team Canada Experience Centre located at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The experience centre will also feature a simulator for team training.
In addition to the Women’s America’s Cup, RVYC will be sending a youth team to the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona, Spain. The Team Canada Youth crew will consist of co-ed sailors under 25 and will be captained by Andrew Wood, an accomplished sailor and RVYC member. This will be the third time Canadian youths compete in the America’s Cup, also sailing the four-person AC40s.
“This is an opportunity to gain worldwide recognition for the advancement of women and youth, for bringing prominence to Canada’s sailors, and to create a foundation for future generations of high-performance competitors,” Turner said.
Isabella Bertold, who is one of the most well-known sailing names in Canada, will lead the country’s entry at the 2024 Women’s America’s Cup. Bertold, 32, started sailing on the waters of English Bay and rapidly rose to the top ranks, earning a Senior National Team position at 13 and winning multiple world cup medals. By 22, she achieved a career-high world ranking of second. In 2019, Isabella retired from Olympic sailing and took up road cycling at a professional level, racing on the UCI Women’s Pro team InstaFund Racing. As professional sailing evolved into faster and more exciting formats, she was drawn back to the water and joined Canada’s SailGP Team as a strategist and co-pilot in 2022. Bertold holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Sauder School of Business and founded the Next Gen Legacy Fund after retiring from Olympic sailing to support youth athletes in British Columbia.
The America’s Cup Race will take place in Barcelona, Spain, in September and October 2024 and will be broadcast on 55 major global television networks with a reach of 941 million viewers. In the women’s event, up to 12 competing countries will race for the chance to hoist the women’s trophy for the very first time.
RVYC was formed in 1903 and located in the prime cruising grounds of British Columbia, the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club is a top 50 Platinum Yacht Club. With over a century of experience in sail racing, RVYC members have gone on to represent the club and Canada at national, international, and Olympic levels.