Base plan agreed for 36th America’s Cup
Published on March 26th, 2018
(March 26, 2018) – Auckland will host the 2021 America’s Cup after an agreement over the structure of the base village was reached by Team New Zealand, Auckland Council, and the New Zealand Government.
It is understood the new village deal comes after a further plan was proposed by Emirates Team New Zealand to bring substantial savings to the costly revamp of Wynyard Point proposed by Economic Development Minister David Parker.
The Team New Zealand plan essentially eliminates the need for any extension of the Halsey Wharf which brings with it a significant cost reduction and situates the team in the Viaduct Events Centre.
The final configuration has one team, likely to be Challenger of Record Luna Rossa, housed on the extension on Hobson Wharf, with up to five others on the eastern side of Wynyard Point.
While the approved plan means something of a scattered village, it keeps Team New Zealand as the focal point and, crucially, means they get to the defend the Cup on their own waters after months of uncertainty.
The cost of the plan is $212 million, with the government’s expected contribution at $114 million, including a Team NZ hosting fee, while the council will put in the balance.
Parker notes how the cost was inclusive of all construction around the event – bar each syndicate’s base. “Those syndicates that are competing – they pay for that themselves. The exception to that is Emirates Team New Zealand, who are going to be located in the events centre.”
The plan is pending approval by the Auckland Council Governing Body and final sign off by Finance Minister Grant Robertson on March 29 but that appears a formality.
“This is a huge relief to have reached the agreement with Government and Council over the event venue and host agreement,” said Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. “Our determination to have the event in Auckland never wavered despite plenty of challenges right up until the 11th hour.”
COR 36, the operational arm of Luna Rossa – Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup, commends the plan as well.
“On behalf of the Challengers, we are very pleased about this announcement,” said Laurent Esquier, CEO of COR 36. “We look forward to Auckland where we will organize the Christmas Race in December 2020 and The Prada Cup – the Challenger Selection Series in January and February 2021. Well done, Auckland – bring on AC36!”
The Viaduct Events Centre will become redundant once the Sky City Convention Centre is completed for housing major events, provide an ideal base for Team New Zealand.
They could be in there by October which would be a boost for their defense plans, allowing them to have a base for their new boat.
Dalton is in Milan providing the prospective challenging fleet with details over the class rule for the new 75-foot foiling monohulls.
The timing of this announcement will be well received there given the lingering doubts over the ability to get the village plan sorted out.
There were genuine, and increasing concerns the event could have been lost to Auckland which would have been a disaster given the lengths Emirates team NZ went to winning it back from Oracle Team USA in Bermuda last year.
New Zealand hosted the 2000 and 2003 America’s Cups in Auckland, regattas that were motivation to develop the Viaduct Basin into what is now a thriving business and tourist area as well as housing.
“We have agreed a base configuration that is less expensive than previous options and requires a much smaller extension into the harbor,” said Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. “It allows the earlier removal of hazardous substance tanks from the southern part of the Point, is more straightforward to consent, will be quicker to construct and creates a positive legacy for Auckland.”
The location, known as Wynyard-Hobson, has evolved from several options on the table. It entails only about 6,600 square meter intrusion into the harbor at Hobson Wharf, compared to 9,900 square meters under the earlier Point Halsey option. Other options had envisaged intrusions of 22,800 square meters.
“This gives ETNZ the certainty it needs to proceed with planning for the event.”
Parker felt this was the best outcome under the circumstances.
“I am very pleased to advise that we have succeeded in negotiating a venue on the Auckland waterfront that all New Zealanders can be proud of. It significantly reduces the intrusion into the harbor at the lowest practical cost,” Parker said in a statement.
“The event will also deliver economic benefits to Auckland and the country.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Mayor Goff and I all stated our commitment to limiting the intrusion into the harbor, while achieving a word class venue for the Cup event, and this delivers that.
“Our work in reaching this point has seen a major cost reduction for taxpayers and Auckland ratepayers of more than $50 million, compared to other options. This is a fantastic achievement and testament to the time and effort we have invested to reach the best outcome possible.”
The construction savings will allow for a hosting fee to run the event.
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match