Unlike Oracle Team USA, which leveraged various bidders for the right to host the America’s Cup, new defender Emirates Team New Zealand has been solely working with Auckland to devise the best plan for the team, event, city, and country.
Complicating the process is the passage of time as the start of racing is already planned for January 2021. After multiple proposals, team boss Grant Dalton comments on the latest plan for America’s Cup base location and design:
“The government came to us with a further plan last week. It’s a further iteration of the Minister’s plan known as the Hybrid option but is closer to the one designed by Viaduct Harbour Holdings. On the face of it, and to the layman’s eye, it looks like it could work.
In the limited time we have had to look into the detail, we see that there are some problems that need to be addressed.
The latest plan reduces the extension of Halsey St Wharf from 75 metres to 45 which will please Stop Stealing Our Harbour.
But with the reduction of the extension of Halsey wharf, this means the majority of the challenger bases must go onto on Wynyard Wharf.
The government has successfully negotiated with Stolthoven for the removal of their tanks earlier than was planned. The same sort of negotiation is currently taking place with Bulk Storage Terminals who own the other tanks that would need to be removed. This negotiation needs to be concluded before this plan could be considered viable. We are unsure of the timeframe for those negotiations to be concluded.
The Wynyard Wharf tank removal and remedial work are complex and time consuming. We, along with the government and council, have concerns about the works timetable and availability of specialist construction resource in an already stretched environment. The government is seeking a second expert opinion on the timetable issue and we support them in doing this.
There is little point in agreeing to a plan that can’t be delivered on time.
David Parker agreed that we would have a permanent Base on Hobson Wharf. He has been forced by Viaduct Harbour Holdings threat to disrupt the resource consent process to back away from that commitment and move our base to the eastern end of Halsey Wharf.
To be honest, I’m a bit pissed off with this but I will live with an equal Base at the eastern end of Halsey Wharf. It’s far enough away from the activities that occur at the Events Center but still allows us to build an innovative interactive public space.
We are planning a space where people can get really close to the team while at work and experience the excitement of sailing these amazing boats through simulators and other great technologies.
None of this is ideal but we will continue to work through the challenges in an effort to see the America’s Cup hosted in 2020/21 in Auckland. It’s where our home is and where our heart is. Council and government have their own challenges and we recognize that they are doing their utmost to meet them.
We have a meeting with Challengers in Europe at the end of this month and confirmation of Auckland as a venue and the class rule are eagerly awaited by them.”
Story by Scuttlebutt Sailing News.