Here's where the next America's Cup could take place

Author
NZ Herald Staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 27 Jun 2017, 12:00PM
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Here's where the next America's Cup could take place

Author
NZ Herald Staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 27 Jun 2017, 12:00PM

Three potential race courses loom for New Zealand's America's Cup defence - including a spectacular inner-harbour version off the Viaduct Harbour.

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has promised to reveal more detail about how and when the Kiwi defence will play out in Auckland within the next two weeks.

He has already hinted at changes including the possibility of moving to foiling mono-hulls rather than the catamarans of Bermuda.

But with the Auld Mug returning to New Zealand for the first time since 2003, there is already speculation on what the regatta will do for Auckland's economy and also where a potential race course might be.

Bermuda has been praised for its spectator-friendly course on the Great Sound and there will be pressure on Auckland to deliver a similar scenario for fans.

That has led to speculation of a cutting edge course immediately off the Viaduct Harbour featuring the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge and a finish line just off the Hilton Hotel.

The New Zealand Herald's sailing expert, 'Professor' Mark Orams, said the suggestion was feasible from a sailing point of view.

"There is enough wind in there to make it happen and it would be spectacular," Orams told the Herald. "But there are obstacles too. There's not much room for spectator craft for example. It would be a very tight course but it is doable."

Sponsors would love the spectator-friendly course but Auckland council would face several obstacles, including the need to temporarily relocate the inner harbour ferry services and passenger terminal facilities.

Another option is in the Tamaki Strait between Maraetai and Waiheke Island where Team New Zealand did a lot of training in the build-up to Bermuda.

The third option is the course used in 2003 when New Zealand last defended the Cup.

Racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup was held on one of three courses in an area of the Hauraki Gulf. The course was between Whangaparoa Peninsular to the north, East Coast Bays to the west, and Rangitoto and Rakino Islands to the south.

Regardless of a final decision, the syndicate bases for each team are certain to remain in the Viaduct.

Dalton said there would need to be a lot of thought given to the potential course and that its configuration would be influenced by what type of boats sail in the 36th edition of the Cup.

"For example, I'm not sure if the current boats could handle a nor-easter (wind) with the tide running out on Rangi [Rangitoto in the Waitemata Harbour]...they could go right down the hole like we almost did once," he said referring to a Team NZ training run.

"We are in lagoon here (in Bermuda). Had Oracle won we were goint to Chicago where it would have been held on a lake. So there's a lot of considerations that need to be taken on board."

-NZ Herald