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America’s Cup: Auckland Covid 19 lockdown cancels opening weekend

America's Cup

The organisers of the Match for the 36th America’s Cup have been forced to cancel the opening weekend of racing between the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli from Italy, after the New Zealand government announced a Level 3 lockdown of Auckland this weekend.

Racing had been scheduled to take place this coming weekend March 6/7 but the seven day lockdown which started on Sunday in the New Zealand city has prompted America’s Cup Events (ACE) to postpone the start of the competition until at least Wednesday March 10.

A statement from ACE explaining the situation reads as follows:

In light of the latest Auckland COVID-19 Level 3 lockdown put in place by the Government from 6am this morning for the next 7 days, America’s Cup Event Ltd has postponed the first weekend of racing on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of March.

The purpose of this early decision is to provide at least some certainty in planning for all event stakeholders with regard to next weekend initially.

America’s Cup Event Ltd Chair, Tina Symmans said, “ACE has always said that it wishes to hold as much of the racing under Level 1 restrictions as possible. But to be prudent, ACE will apply for an exemption to race under Level 3 restrictions so as to keep as many options open as possible. However, racing will not occur before at least Wednesday 10th March.”

In the meantime, ACE will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities over the next few days as this latest COVID situation unfolds.

“We need to understand all likely scenarios so that an updated racing schedule can be put in place whilst also ensuring the regulatory requirements are met,” concluded Symmans.

Main image © COR36 | Studio Borlenghi