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20 Feb 2018 6:50
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Sailing

    Italy on standby as America's Cup host

    Team New Zealand insist Kiwi sailing fans shouldn't be anxious after declaring Italy is the backup host of the next America's Cup.

    Team New Zealand insist Kiwi sailing fans shouldn't be anxious after declaring Italy is the backup host of the next America's Cup.

    The Kiwi syndicate threw a curve ball into their announcement on Friday of protocol for the 2021 regatta which is intended for Auckland.

    Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton revealed there is no infrastructure yet in place in New Zealand's biggest city to host the regatta.

    With the protocol now unveiled, Dalton says it is a priority for Auckland Council and government officials to establish a host city agreement and begin the complex task of establishing a venue and facilities capable of staging a large-scale global event.

    Dalton estimates 30,000 square metres of space will be required to host bases for the defenders and challengers, either on existing Auckland waterfront land or at a newly-created area.

    Dalton wants facilities completed before the first boats arrive midway through 2019 for pre-regatta races.

    A deadline of August 31 next year has been established to confirm a venue and race course.

    Dalton says the deadline isn't intended as a threat to local officials.

    He added the Italian connection was announced simply to provide certainty to challengers, something Team USA didn't do in the leadup to this year's regatta in Bermuda.

    "Auckland is where we want to hold it but we've got nothing in place yet," Dalton said.

    "It's only responsible for the challengers that they know there's a back-up if natural disaster, or whatever, happened and we couldn't hold it here.

    "If for whatever reason it couldn't come to Auckland, they need to know where it's going."

    Auckland Council bodies have reportedly been investigating the extension of various sectors of waterfront land.

    Mayor Phil Goff recently said he wanted the priority to be an infrastructure legacy for the city, as happened when the Viaduct Basin was created ahead of the 2000 defence.

    Dalton wants team bases built close together in an area open to the public to create atmosphere.

    If Auckland gets the green light, racing will take place in the Hauraki Gulf, as was the case when Auckland hosted in 2000 and 2003.

    Dalton wants the event closer to land than at those events but said Waitemata Harbour was considered too tight to stage races.


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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