Viaduct chaos: America's Cup fans told to 'stay away' with village 'so full'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Mar 2021, 5:36PM
As per usual, bars along the waterfront are packed with people, with some saying that had waited hours to ensure they secured a primo spot to watch the racing.
As per usual, bars along the waterfront are packed with people, with some saying that had waited hours to ensure they secured a primo spot to watch the racing.

Viaduct chaos: America's Cup fans told to 'stay away' with village 'so full'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Mar 2021, 5:36PM

Keen sailing fans are being discouraged from going to the America's Cup village on Auckland's viaduct because it is "so full".

Yachtsman and scientist Mark Orams says people are being "turned away as the main viewing stage at the cup village is full".

The postponement of the first race today gave more punters a chance to head down towards the water, which was described as "heaving with people".

Auckland Unlimited is urging people heading down to main area of America's Cup Village to steer clear.

General manager, Steve Armitage, says they've hit capacity at the main stage area.

As per usual, bars along the waterfront are packed with people, with some saying that had waited hours to ensure they secured a primo spot to watch the racing.

They're encouraging people to move to other areas like Queens Wharf, Aotea Square or bars and restaurants that are broadcasting the racing.

Armitage says they were always expecting large crowds - which is why they set up screens in other locations around the city centre.

One security official estimated there were between 2000 to 3000 people at the Viaduct by 3pm. She said it seemed busier compared with previous race days at this time.

Bars along the waterfront are packed with people, with some saying that had waited hours to ensure they secured a primo spot to watch the racing.

A staffer with the Taco Medic food truck said today seemed busier than any other. They had sold out of food a couple of days and the staffer expected they would sell out again today.

Today's event has attracted fans from across the country, with some driving hours from around the North Island to potentially witness history.

Te Aroha mum Mary Reason and kids James and Ismene drove up to Auckland today with the hope of seeing Team New Zealand win their final race.

"It's awesome," James said. "My mind is blown away."

James, a keen sailor at 10 years old and a member of Peter Burling's old sailing club in Tauranga, was fairly confident conditions would allow racing. With two kids right into their sailing, Mary said today's atmosphere had met their expectations.

Twenty-year-old Hailey Regan, daughter of Team New Zealand head of shore crew and construction Sean Regan, had followed racing all her life and was excited to see the Kiwis race for their final win in the America's Cup.

Despite clear memories of Oracle's comeback in San Francisco in 2013 under Jimmy Spithill, Regan was confident the boys would get the job done today. "You do have a bit of [memories] of San Francisco but we've got a good team and a fast boat," she said.

While most were excited about the big race, some had made the trip downtown to see goats.

Whenuapai goat lovers Grant Solley and Nichola Ridley are one of the main attractions for people walking along the viaduct with their two goats: an almost 4-year-old Saanen Nueian cross named Steve and a 9-month-old mixed breed named Chips.

The pair, who have 12 goats between them, said they had been asked for hundreds of photos over the last few days with many kids excited to find what they thought were dogs were actually goats. "We love seeing people happy and smiling," Solley said.