The latest twist in the wrangling over the 36th America’s Cup racecourses appears to mean that both the disputed B and C courses in Auckland Harbour have been cleared for use throughout the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series and the America’s Cup Match.
A press release issued by the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand revealed the news following a decision by the Ports of Auckland authority to change its stance.
The Emirates Team New Zealand release reads as follows:
Ports of Auckland has today announced that it will facilitate the use of the inner harbour races courses (B and C) for all racing for the 36th America’s Cup event.
CEO Tony Gibson said “We wanted the public to be able to enjoy the America’s Cup races as much as possible, so we looked again at the impact of racing on the port’s operations.”
“The situation has changed considerably since January. Because cruise ships are no longer able to visit Auckland, we now believe we can successfully manage freight operations even with closures to the shipping channel for racing. We will work with shipping lines to ensure there is minimal impact on their operations and to keep Auckland’s freight flowing,” he said.
“We are very pleased to be able to support the event in this way.”
Grant Dalton said he was grateful for Ports of Auckland’s understanding of what was at stake for the people of New Zealand, the worldwide TV audience and the spectators being able to watch the racing from land.
“Tony and his team have stepped up to help Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and America’s Cup Event Ltd (ACE) deliver on the promise we made years ago, to make this America’s Cup the most accessible and inclusive event ever.”
Last week ETNZ filed a request for Mediation with the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel which has now been rejected due to at least one of the Challengers not agreeing to mediation.
In parallel to this request, ETNZ and ACE talked to Ports of Auckland about a secondary solution because of the critical importance of making sure that racing could happen on the inner harbour courses as envisaged.
In solving this problem, Ports of Auckland have agreed to accommodate a further 10 official race days and six reserve days during the Prada Cup Round-Robin and Semi-Final, ensuring all courses are available to all teams.
The shipping channel will need to be closed between 13:00 and 19:00 on days when courses B and C are used for racing. This is to allow race and spectator boats time to get to the courses, for racing to be completed and to clear the course so ships can come in and out safely.
The decision on what racecourse is used each day is the responsibility of the Regatta Director.