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Spirit of 2020
Tristan Rutherford
30th October 2019

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Spirit of 2020

Through 2020 a volley of international events will crown a year of sporting action. From soccer in St Petersburg to Formula 1 in Vietnam, Camper & Nicholsons can grant front row access to a once-in-a-lifetime itinerary. The biggest ticket is the XXXII Olympiad in Japan. Up to four billion global viewers will be glued to surfing and sailing tournaments - plus the country’s 30,000km of coastline.


Vietnam Grand Prix

In April 2020 the capitalist lodestars of Mercedes and Ferrari will arrive in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Decades ago, no-one would have predicted a Formula 1 race in Hanoi. However, sister circuits in Baku, Sochi and Shanghai - former communist enclaves all - prove that few are immune to a sport that pairs death-defying overtakes with a century of glamour.

Better still, the new Hanoi track is a street circuit in the manner of Monaco and Singapore. Which means that racing cars will belt through boulevards built during the Fédération Indochinoise, before barrelling passed the bioluminescence of a 21st-century cityscape. The circuit is set to showcase a Vietnamese history lesson - in under two minutes per lap.

As the Hanoi circuit is city-central, the after party will be held close by. Should young bucks Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc take the chequered flag they’ll most probably bomb the pool of the Sofitel Grand Métropole as they do in Monaco’s Fairmont Hotel. (Quite what former Métropole guests Somerset Maugham or Graham Greene would think of such antics is another matter.) A French connection still pervades the Hanoi hotel. The grande dame establishment is adept at baking bánh mì baguettes, a common breakfast item in modern Vietnam. Although locals take their coffee as cà phê ?á - like a Parisian espresso, iced.

The Hanoi Grand Prix is set to be as challenging as that of Monaco. Next April air temperatures will top 32°C (90°f). The heat on the black asphalt will be far higher. Furthermore, the circuit’s 22 corners have been inspired by Formula 1’s most insidious tracks to burn rubber like never before. After the starting gun the pack is squeezed into a 270° right-hander. Like Germany’s Nurburgring, it will crunch the carbon fibre cars together before spitting them out into a twisting chaos of brake dust. Respite is around the corner. After a 180° U-turn comes one of the longest straights in Formula 1: a 2.7km hell-for-leather run where vehicles should clock speeds of over 335kmh.

Then it’s Monaco time. Quite literally, as turns 12-15 of the Hanoi track have been borrowed by the opening corners of the Circuit de Monte-Carlo, a short walk from Camper & Nicholsons HQ. The remainder of the 20 cars may then endure a series of G-force ‘Esses’ copied from Japan’s Suzuka circuit. Then it’s back to the starting grid for another 54 laps.

Such tyre-wrecking action will require multiple stops. Fortunately Hanoi’s innovative street circuit will introduce a high-speed pit lane that snips off the circuit’s first corners, allowing cars to return to the fray all the quicker. Be aware that the typhoon season, which usually begins in May, could spray extra drama on proceedings. Drivers will be hoping for Champagne instead.

Mooring in Vietnam

Travel + Leisure magazine voted Nha Trang as one of the world’s most beautiful bays. This sand-fringed coastline recently welcomed Vietnam’s first international superyacht hub. AnaMarina hosts gelaterie and pop-up restaurants alongside heavy hoists and Port of Entry facilities. Plus side-to mooring for yachts of up to 100m.

Superyachts in Vietnam

Aqua Mekong was custom built to cruise Vietnam’s crowning waterway. This floating five-star hotel begins its voyage amid Ho Chi Minh City’s 13 million souls. After exploring the delta’s museums and street markets by kayak and mountain bike, she cruises up the mighty Mekong at a stately pace of 8 knots. Ports of call include boutiques and fleuristes in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Plus the living lake of Tonlé Sap near the UNESCO temples of Angkor.

Dubai EXPO2020

World's Fairs are a way to showcase a nation's prowess. The first, London's Great Exhibition of 1851, built a Crystal Palace of glass filled with innovations like the world's first voting machine, precision telescopes and pay toilets. Entrance to the latter cost one penny. The America's Cup yacht race also began as an adjunct to the show. The 1939 World’s Fair in New York was a universal exposition that allowed 44 million visitors a glimpse of “the world of tomorrow”. In this case it meant fluorescent tube lighting, 3D films, a speech synthesiser and a rollercoaster later moved to Coney Island.

From 20th October 2020 until 10th April 2021, the Dubai World Expo plans to attract twice the population of the UAE itself. Up to 25m guests will view exhibits themed around “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. The world’s longest driverless Metro will deliver attendees to a 4km2 site divided into ‘mobility’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘opportunity’ neighbourhoods by parks, pools and 200 restaurants. In World’s Fair spirit, the 190 exhibiting nations include countries as diverse as Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Each national zone will indulge visitors for hours at a time. The Monaco Pavilion is inspired by the Rock of Monaco, where visitors can clamber up a mini-mountain to see and smell action and aromas from the French Riviera. The subject of the Germany Pavilion is sustainability. It uses superconductors, solar panels, earthworms and composted trash to craft a futuristic urban campus. The Italy Pavilion is shaped into three ships hulls coloured - you guessed it - red, white and green. Visitors can gradually ascend via walkways and passerelles to view an Italian skyline, while sideshows highlight Italy's seafaring culture. The entire Expo site would take weeks to see.

Those visitors with limited time should sail in for the China Pavilion. Said to be the most futuristic, a lantern-shaped arena will showcase China’s alternative to GPS, BeiDou, which can geotrack locations to a few millimetres, plus the nation’s plans to develop infrastructure in 70 other nations. It’s joked that its most ardent visitors will be exhibitors from the rival USA Pavilion nearby.

Mooring in Dubai

In Dubai they dream big. A few weeks before EXPO2020, brand new marina Dubai Harbour will open most of its 1,100 berths, which include 180 dedicated superyacht slots. Two helipads will whiz guests to the Expo, up to Abu Dhabi or down to Oman’s Indian Ocean coast.

UEFA Euro 2020

Every four years the European Football Championships gathers the continent’s top 24 squads to battle in one footie-mad nation. Next summer the plans are a little different. From 12th June 2020 until 12th July 2020, 12 cities across 12 countries will witness the agony and ecstasy of footballing emotion.

Sailors can rejoice. Because yachts can be moored at six of the 12 host cities: Rome, Bilbao, Dublin, Copenhagen, St Petersburg and London. Stadium shuttles can be performed by custom tender or helicopter. Matches can be viewed in the sun-kissed evenings of the European solstice. Then the carnival atmosphere can be carried on from deck with accompanying leprechaun hats (for Republic of Ireland fans) red and gold homburgs (for Germans) and Viking horns (for Norwegians).

By happy coincidence, the six host cities by the sea are all serious foodie destinations. If you enjoy pairing football with saltimbocca, pintxos, Dublin Bay prawns, smørrebrød and caviar blinis - not forgetting fish and chips at the Wembley Stadium final - this is the tournament you’ve been waiting for.

The month-long fiesta of football also waves goodbye to a golden generation of players. Ballon d’Or winners Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo will likely thump their last international balls. For millennial stars the boot is on the other foot. Younger playmakers like Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappé have the capacity to attain footballer of the year status. Just be sure to reserve ahead for Europe’s classic grudge matches. As neighbourly love has seldom infiltrated European politics, face-offs between Holland and Germany, Spain and Portugal, Poland and Russia, and England and Scotland, remain febrile must-sees.

Mooring in Europe

The fact that six of the 12 Euro 2020 hosts have maritime history is a boon for sailors. In St Petersburg luxury yachts can sail right up the Neva. Although vessels between 40m and 90m are consigned to Lomonosov Marina in the Gulf of Finland, where Russia’s Tsars built an Italianate palace. London has long welcomed the world’s most noteworthy yachts. Recent visitors have included Kismet and A. The Camper & Nicholsons marina at St Katherine’s Dock is the only yacht harbour in Central London. It’s sited near Falcon Heliport on the River Thames, from where it’s a short flight to Wembley Stadium. Perhaps the finest superyacht mooring resides in the canal city of Copenhagen. Luxury vessels over 100m can moor next to the Royal Playhouse. The Michelin-starred restaurant of Noma is a five-minute RIB ride away.

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

The Tokyo 1964 Olympics ushered in many global firsts. The inaugural Asian Olympiad wowed the world with the first-ever bullet trains, which commenced operation nine days before the games. The Olympics were also the first to be televised live across the world, albeit in black and white. (Toshiba's new colour transmission system allowed sumo and judo matches to be screened domestically in real time). The 1964 tournament also saw American boxer Joe Frazier win gold in the Heavyweight category. Meanwhile Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won another five medals to bring her total to 18 Olympic gongs. Her record remained unbroken until 2012, when swimmer Michael Phelps garnered 25.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics from 24th July until 9th August are set to be similarly smashing. Not least because many of the sports take place in the same venues as 1964, including the Nippon Budokan martial arts centre and the Yoyogi Gymnasium handball arena. Like 56 years ago, sailing will also take place at Enoshima Yacht Harbour. All 10 events from Laser and 49er will be back-dropped by sand beaches and the majestic peak of Mount Fuji. Few sailors hope to match the Olympic exploits of Britain's Sir Ben Ainslie. His medal tally of four golds in consecutive games in the Finn class will likely never be matched. (Viewers can still catch him helming Britain’s bid in the forthcoming America’s Cup.)

Several new offerings grace this year’s Olympic Games. These include the sporting disciplines of karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing, which will be enshrined into future Olympiads. The latter, held in the Pacific waves off Shidashita Beach during August’s typhoon swells, promise to be particularly entertaining.

Having come this far it’s worth combining the games with a bespoke tour of Japan. Start in the Tokyo National Museum. The establishment’s 110,000 objects act as a timeline of the country’s culture, from Buddhist statues to Samurai attire. A private tour will grant access to museum areas normally closed to the public - and make sense of the wondrous architecture that pans from the original honkan building to Western-style Meiji-era salons.

The Mount Fuji area has been trampled by tourists for over a century. Less hiked is the Kii Peninsula southwest of Kyoto, where UNESCO-protected pilgrimage trails link traditional ryokan inns and onsen steam baths. Japan’s old imperial capital even has its own sake district. The Kyoto zone of Fushimi hosts a dozen distilleries along picturesque canals where rice and other raw materials are still shipped today. From here the bullet train glides back to Tokyo (with a passing glance to Mount Fuji) in just over two hours.

Arrive hungry. Because the Japanese capital boasts the most Michelin stars in the world, outshining even Paris. Sushi doesn’t come any better than three-star Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The restaurant’s sole menu is an omakase shimasu, which roughly translates as carte blanche for chef to prepare each mouthful on a creative whim. Ask a top concierge to book a seat for his ¥30,000 seafood extravaganza. Joël Robuchon, the world’s most decorated restaurateur, is a well-known Asian aficionado. His triple-starred Franco-Japanese blowout includes snow crab with Japanese radish and canard de Kyoto. The 2019 Michelin Guide also includes a newly minted ramen house. These simple affairs, like one-star Sobahouse Konjiki Hototogisu, dish up lip-smacking bowls of sea bream and porcini noodles from ¥900 - around €7.50.

Time to weigh anchor? Several sailors will navigate home via the ports of Taiwan, the Philippines’ Babuyan Islands, Indonesia and Singapore. Or cruise on to the America’s Cup in New Zealand.

Superyachts in Japan

An entire Olympic team can be hosted aboard Saluzi. With a high-tech gymnasium alongside 16 luxurious cabins, the 70m superyacht can put them through their training too. Although Saluzi has chartered in Japanese waters, she plans to cruise Thailand in 2020. This location might be the perfect place for a charterer - plus their 200 fellow sports fans - to watch the action live from the 295m2 sundeck.

New Zealand - The 36th America’s Cup

British aristocrats created the America’s Cup - then lost it to American tech for 132 years. Duralumin masts and Marconi rigs couldn’t wrest the trophy back, nor could the entry of Camper & Nicholsons’ J-Class, arguably the finest racing yachts ever conceived. The story continues, as history and high drama are still sailing today.

Competitors at the 36th America’s Cup will forgo the turkey during Christmas 2020. Because that’s when six polyglot teams will partake in practise races around Auckland. It’s called ‘City of Sails’ for good reason. In this North Island major city, a third of all families own their own boat - a Technicolor regatta that will be joined by challengers including Prada Luna Rossa, Malta Altus Challenge, DutchSail and Ineos Team UK. Each team will then race through the Hauraki Gulf - a charter wonderland alive with orcas and bottlenose dolphins - multiple times in January’s Prada Cup. The winner of this tournament will face defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand in the deciding America’s Cup race in March 2021.

The racing will be faster than ever. As entrants have long paired cutting edge tech with wealthy backers, the field is a space age festival of speed costing hundreds of millions of dollars. The tournament’s boats are all foiling AC75s - meaning the 75ft (23m) yachts lift onto hydrofoils at high velocity, creating minimal drag as razor-thin skis careen atop the waves. Grainy YouTube clips (America’s Cup competitors are as secretive as they have been anytime in the last century) show the AC75s flying like seaplanes with chasing speedboats struggling to keep up. Speeds of up to 50 knots (nearly 100kmh) have been projected.

More interestingly, the 2021 America’s Cup is being billed as a deep ocean grudge match. In the 2013 tournament the Americans were losing the trophy to Team New Zealand 0-5. They then changed their tactician to back-up British sailor Sir Ben Ainslie who brought home the series by a single point. To rub salt in the wounds, the American champions were captained by an Aussie, Jimmy Spithill. After one race was won by a mere 16 seconds, Kiwi skipper Dean Barker commented: “If you didn’t enjoy today’s racing you should probably watch another sport.” Now Sir Ben is skippering Ineos Team UK.

The 2017 America’s Cup had a different ending. The Americans are still smarting from their decisive loss to Team New Zealand. Perhaps that’s why this year the country is fielding two teams: one each from the New York Yacht Club and the Long Island Yacht Club. Naturally, the American clubs are rivals too, with the haughty former looking down on the louche latter from their Beaux-Arts Manhattan HQ. Given the strength of the field, the Kiwis had best pull their Helly Hansen socks up. Not least because former Team New Zealand sailor Max Sirena will now skipper the Prada Luna Rossa team.

Mooring in New Zealand

Silo Marina is Auckland’s superyacht harbour of choice. Flat whites - which were invented nearby - can be sipped at waterfront cafés while patrons peruse Monocle and the FT. The marina also offers direct access out to the Hauraki Gulf.

Superyachts in New Zealand

The design and build partnership of Ed Dubois and New Zealand's Alloy Yachts resulted in Imagine. This 33.6m racing yacht has the pedigree to gallop through from St Petersburg to Dublin - via Copenhagen and London - like a thoroughbred. “A true yachtsman’s yacht”, she can also serve Northern Europe’s finest seafood from Kamchatka crab to Atlantic turbot.