The New Zealand Government has granted border exemptions to America’s Cup challengers American Magic and INEOS Team UK, paving the way for the teams to proceed with planning to move to New Zealand in the coming months.
The Government is continuing to work with the challenger of record Luna Rossa on their applications which were seeking a later entry date into the country.
New Zealand closed its borders in March to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, with only citizens and permanent residents allowed to enter the country.
American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson said there was “a big sense of relief” after what has been a sometimes frustrating few weeks for the US challengers, but ultimately was thankful to the New Zealand Government for their efforts.
“As hard as it is because we’re antsy with our timing, they worked us through it and helped us through this process. And I can tell you 100 per cent that we’re looking forward to integrating into the Auckland community and being the safest and nicest neighbors that you can possibly find.”
The US Challenger would bring 102 workers and 104 family members to New Zealand, while the British team would bring in 86 workers, 128 family members and one nanny.
American Magic will be the first to arrive having shipped Defiant, the team’s first AC75, on May 27 and it is expected to arrive in Auckland by June 26. The British team continues to train at their base in Portsmouth, England.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the exemption is “a positive step that will provide a real boost to Auckland’s economic recovery. The international syndicates will contribute more than $100 million (NZL) to the economy, with spending across a range of industries including construction, marine, retail, accommodation and hospitality.”
The teams, and their families, will go into managed isolation when they arrive. This includes Kiwi members of their team as well. The teams themselves will be paying for the cost of accommodation, flights, food during their managed isolation, while the Government will provide services such as health compliance.
Despite being a bit behind schedule, Hutchinson said he’s making no excuses and is excited to get sailing in Auckland in July.
“How it’s all panned out, we’re going to be in a good spot that we’ll be sailing in July. As it is always with the America’s Cup, is anything ever perfect? No. But if we meet that milestone then at the end of the competition in March of next year, we’ll only have the mirror to congratulate or to blame.”
36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:
• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, but they still must complete the entry fee payment process before they will be eligible to race. They have allegedly made their initial payment but as a late entry challenger under the Protocol, they also have a liability to pay a US$1million late entry fee due in installments by October 1, 2019. However, it is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee, nor is there any knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team training.
Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ 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
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match
AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1