BBYC: AC defence should stay in NZ

The Emirates Team NZ boat, right. Photo supplied

Bucklands Beach Yacht Club (BBYC) wants to see Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) host the America’s Cup challenge in New Zealand but accepts that funding may mean the next series defence is held offshore.

ETNZ and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) last week announced it was looking outside of NZ for funding options abroad after a three-month exclusive negotiating period failed to “reach a conclusion that works for all parties”.

Auckland Council and the Government had offered almost $100 million. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said Aucklanders would be disappointed at ETNZ’s decision to look overseas for the next America’s Cup defence.

“Moving the race overseas would be the first time a successful New Zealand team has not defended the Cup on home waters,” Goff said.

“Auckland Council and the government have made a combined offer in cash and in-kind of nearly $100m, but Team New Zealand wanted twice that amount. That clearly was not sustainable in the post-Covid environment.

“While I understand Team New Zealand have to think about their commercial interests, I share Aucklanders’ disappointment that the Cup is looking like it is going overseas.

“Council invested $113 million in infrastructure for this year’s successful America’s Cup and made a huge effort to deliver it on time and on budget,” Goff said.

BBYC Commodore Sara Poore told the Times what ETNZ has achieved over the decades is extraordinary.

“Firstly, Bucklands Beach Yacht Club (BBYC) congratulates Emirates Team New Zealand on successfully defending the 36th America’s Cup. This achievement was nothing short of stunning both for spectators and for sailing technology advancements,” Poore said.

“We at BBYC embraced the cup fever and, over the period of the cup competition, we put on many activities within our club fan zone which attracted not only our members but also the general public, many of whom joined up as new members, so the America’s Cup held in Auckland is very beneficial to BBYC and yacht clubs around New Zealand.

“With regards to where the next AC is held, we are not the yacht club involved and do not know all the information RNZYS have had to consider.”

Poore said most Kiwis and BBYC would like to see the defence of the Cup held in Auckland.

“Sailors, both local and international, know what a fantastic body of water we have on our doorstep in Auckland,” she said.

“However, any AM defence (or challenge) is a very expensive exercise. Step one is about having the money to put a defence or campaign together.

“We have to be realistic in that the NZ Government will have limits on what they can fund.

“We have to appreciate that Emirates may not be in the same position to fund sponsorship. These boats are the (equivalent of) Formula One on the water.

“What is important is to have Team NZ defend the next event and that they have sufficient money to do this. We think the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and TNZ have been very pragmatic.”

RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said, “Whilst we also remain hopeful that the cup can stay in New Zealand it would be prudent to now explore other options as well, with the primary objective to ensure we keep the America’s Cup trophy in the cabinet here at the club.

“As such we also understand the need to help ensure the viability of Emirates Team New Zealand so we have every opportunity to defend the America’s Cup again, wherever that may be. It would be an unprecedented achievement to win the America’s Cup three times in a row and taking the cup overseas may well offer the best chance for us to do so.

“At a meeting last night (June 15) members were presented with this option and I believe generally understood this might need to happen.”