America’s Cup: Cork short-listed to host?

Published on July 26th, 2021

Cork, Ireland is talking up its America’s Cup hosting candidacy, saying its is “a step closer” to holding yachting’s premier event. The 37th edition of the America’s Cup has gone to an international bidding process after defenders Team New Zealand and the New Zealand government and Auckland City failed to agree to terms for the next regatta.

Cork, the second largest city in Ireland boasting one of the world’s largest natural harbors, emerged as a surprise candidate and now believes it is right in the running. A fresh report by Afloat.ie, the Irish sailing and boating magazine’s website, claims assessments by an America’s Cup technical team that visited the city in June, have judged Cork as a “strong possibility”.

Afloat reported Cork was “down to the last two cities” on a shortlist of alternatives and in a “leading position”’ after an “exceedingly positive” initial assessment. That would back up similar claims made last week by the respected New Zealand edition of Sail-World, that reported the Cup’s venue bidding process was expected to be “cut to a short list of two or three in the next week, with Cork, Ireland and Valencia, Spain believed to be amongst the favored contenders”.

Afloat’s report said the Irish government would be required to make an initial investment, but felt there was “potential for a significant return to the nation, economically”. Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, confirmed he had attended a number of briefings and presentations on the potential of Cork’s harbor and facilities.

The Cork Dockyard includes a “ready-made’ 18-hectare site for an America’s Cup village that includes deep water berths. Ireland have had eight America’s Cup challenges, though the last of those was by Shamrock V way back in 1930.

Valencia city authorities have expressed reservations about getting involved the Cup again as they continue to pay debts incurred by hosting the 2007 edition. But the Real Club Náutico de Valencia believes they can tap into a rich European Union post-Covid recovery fund to help pay for a fresh bid.

Team New Zealand again have the responsibility of moving the America’s Cup forward after their resounding win over Luna Rossa in Auckland. Team New Zealand have a September 17 deadline to confirm the next venue.

Potential syndicates are eagerly awaiting developments with the New York Yacht Club confirming last Saturday that they had joined with Stars + Stripes for the next Cup. Italians Luna Rossa are also keen to continue but have urged Team New Zealand to “get a move on” with plans. Sir Ben Ainslie’s Team UK are the new challenger of record, responsible for planning and staging the next regatta with Team New Zealand.

Source: Duncan Johnstone, stuff.co.nz

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