America's Cup: Fan experience key for 2021 regatta - Grant Dalton

Team New Zealand (TNZ) CEO Grant Dalton says the course selection for the 2021 America's Cup is about giving fans the best experience possible. 

Dalton announced the venue and race dates at a glitzy event on the Isle of Wight on Saturday morning (NZ time).

The Cup course is in the Hauraki Gulf, which runs along the North Shore beaches close to North Head, within the inner part of Waitemata Harbour.

It will then continue to the Harbour Bridge and downtown Auckland, across Auckland's eastern suburbs, and between the Tamaki Strait, Waiheke Island and Maraetai.

The America's Cup regattas will take place from March 6-21, 2021, with racing expected to start between 4-6pm NZ time.

Dalton said there were many talks and discussions about the course, as there were lots of parties to negotiate with, but he was confident TNZ got it right.

"When the Cup was in New Zealand back in 2003, the racing was a long way out," he told Newshub. "I remember being in Mairangi Bay, trying to watch with a pair of binoculars, and things have changed - we wanted to bring it in close.

"We also want people to be able to see it from the Shore, Bastion point, North Head and Takapuna, but we're right in.

"It's about bringing it to as many people as we can. I try to pull numbers out of the sky, but you can see space for 300,00 people on shore to watch the racing."

Dalton said they worked hard with the Auckland harbourmaster and related agencies to ensure they could cope with an expected huge spectator fleet on the racecourse boundaries.

Dalton insisted there was still plenty of work to do to ensure everything ran smoothly in three years' time. 

"We had to do lots of work, we had to talk to the harbourmaster and lots of different parties. The ferries have to be able access the port and spectators have to be safe out of the water.

"It is really important we get this right, because the city has to keep operating and if we're not careful, we'll shut it down."

With the racing expected to take place during peak-hour afternoon times, people might try to get off work early in the city for a perfect viewing spot, but Dalton said the decision to race early in the evening was due to the wind changes.

TNZ are determined to cut down race-day cancellations for too much wind or swell, as was seen in San Francisco in 2013.


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