Se­cu­rity beefed up for Cup

Events of the past will not be re­peated, squadron says.

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.’’

LAWRENCE SMITH/STUFF

Team New Zealand’s Peter Burl­ing car­ries the Amer­ica’s Cup down Queen St.

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