Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island and Queenstown on the South Island are already starting the challenge of where to hold the 2021 America’s Cup.
Following the New Zealand win of the 35th edition of the America’s Cup in Bermuda a few weeks ago, the prospect of holding it again has resulted in the four locations already starting to make plans to hold it. It is 14 years since the America’s Cup was held in New Zealand, then close to Auckland in Long Bay.
The America’s Cup has always brought a big bonus to the New Zealand yachting market with significant investment in the associated marine infrastructure in Auckland. Three possible sites in in the city – Long Bay, Rangitoto Island and within Auckland harbour itself, close to the city’s central business district – are being put forward.
Elsewhere on the North Island, the New Zealand capital of Wellington and Tauranga, where a new yachting precinct has been developed, are also being put forward as possibilities. Wellington is seen as having the advantage of being the windiest coastal city in the country. Its waterfront also offers an ideal option for the AC races. Wellington’s mayor, Justin Lester, is backing the bid and sees it as a real opportunity.
Tauranga is on the east coast of the North Island, southeast of Auckland, and it is the home town of Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling. The port is well-served with yachting infrastructure that includes a newly developed yacht precinct. The yacht races could be held between Karewa island and Motiti island and there is an ideal spectator viewing point at Mount Maunganui. Like Wellington, Tauranga thinks the holding the 36th America’s Cup could bring a significant boost to the local economy.
On the South Island, the key tourist location of Queenstown has already staked a claim with the Park Street Yacht Club putting forward its own hosting plan. The suggestion of Queenstown was originally put forward by Sir Russell Coutts, the AC chief executive who has a house in the area. The Park Street Yacht Club has proposed that the races be held on Lake Wakatipu and it has also produced a course map which has the races ending in front of Sunshine Bay. It has also identified locations for the race village and an area for superyachts.