In a recent interview on Radio New Zealand, yachting journalist Richard Gladwell said that he expected the America’s Cup to go ahead and for New Zealand to emerge from lockdown as quickly as it went in.
This will be a relief to the three challenging teams who are at present barred from entry to New Zealand by the government COVID-19 restriction on entry of foreigners.
If the entry restriction were still in place when the challengers arrived – most likely around October in order to prepare for the America’s Cup World Series event in December – then Mr Gladwell suggested that they should be given an exception to allow them entry.
Apparently it would be possible to easily quarantine the teams within the Wynyard Point base area in Auckland, keeping the public away.
Due to the lockdown restrictions in the competing countries (NZL, USA, UK and Italy) the build programmes for the team’s second AC75 boats are running behind schedule.
Thus it is likely that they will have little time to test the boats – none have been launched to date – before shipping to New Zealand.
Mr Gladwell commented that New Zealand’s infrastructure was ready, ahead of time and within cost, to host the Cup. Although none of the challenger teams have completed their base construction yet.
With their first AC75 still in transit to and from the abandoned Cagliar/Portsmouth ACWS events, the New Zealand defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, has been training with their 12metre test boat, Te Kāhu (The Hawk) in Auckland since late January.
The reality is that the staging of the 36th America’s Cup will depend on how well New Zealand and the rest of the world come out of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic later this year.
New Zealand, with just 723 cases and one death, is at the early stage of the pandemic that has swept through Asia and Europe and now the USA.
The full personal and international economic consequences of this pandemic have yet to be seen, with 963,339 cases and 49,199 deaths to date and the numbers still accelerating worldwide.
With the first two ACWS events and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games already fallen to COVID-19, can the 36th America’s Cup buck the trend?
Under the new rules announced by New Zealand government, foreigners are now being allowed to leave the country. Upto 9,000 British citizens are awaiting repatriation to the UK.
Full RNZ Checkpoint interview available here https://www.rnz.co.nz