Security beefed up for Cup
Events of the past will not be repeated, squadron says.
There is no chance the America’s Cup will be vandalised while on New Zealand soil this time round, says the yacht club responsible for its safekeeping.
The Auld Mug will be kept on display at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) in Westhaven on Auckland’s waterfront, and plans are already underway to allow the public to view the oldest trophy in international sport.
RNZYS general manager Hayden Porter said while the club was keen to show-off the Cup, it had to ensure security was its number one priority.
‘‘It’s very, very tight security, in a purpose-built cabinet that has a direct link to central police amongst other things,’’ Porter said.
Naturally, security has been a top priority ever since the Cup was notoriously taken to with a sledgehammer back in 1996.
After Team New Zealand won it for the first time in 1995, Benjamin Nathan broke into the RNZYS and smashed the Cup so severely, many feared it was beyond repair.
Nathan was sentenced to 18 months in jail for criminal damage and the Cup was restored to its original condition over three months in England free of charge.
Porter assured that wouldn’t happen again with a cabinet for the Cup that was practically bullet-proof and bomb-proof.
The decision to house the Cup at the RNZYS shouldn’t come as a surprise to many.
Most see Team New Zealand as the crew behind the America’s Cup, but the RNZYS is the club they represent.
‘‘The America’s Cup is actually a challenge between yacht clubs,’’ Porter said.
‘‘We have been that challenger since 1995 so it’s had a long history here and Emirates Team New Zealand are the team that represents this club.’’
With many of the sailors either belonging to the RNZYS or going through their training programmes at a young age, the club has been very involved throughout the campaign.
As a result, Porter said that gave more impetus for the next Cup to be held in Auckland - the home of the Cup and Team New Zealand.
Porter even hinted at a move back to mono-hull yachts.
‘‘I sense a split on that,’’ he said.
The club has already seen a spike in memberships since Team NZ’s win. It had upwards of 40 sign-ups on the morning of the victory, and the number has been steadily growing.
‘‘We’re not that far off capacity in terms of membership,’’ Porter said.
‘‘The interest without a doubt gets a lot higher and it certainly helps marketing that’s for sure.’’
Team New Zealand’s Peter Burling carries the America’s Cup down Queen St.