Herald on Sunday

Squadron rallies to keep Cup


Aleaked email has revealed a last-ditch effort was made to raise the money required to host the next America’s Cup in Auckland, despite an admittedly low chance of success.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron commodore Aaron Young this week updated squadron members on efforts being made to keep the event on New Zealand shores.

Last month, Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton told more than 400 squadron members it was extremely unlikely a funding agreement with the Government would be reached, after three months of negotiatio­ns had failed.

After another month of attempts to raise at least $80 million to add to a reported offer worth $100m from the Government and Auckland Council, Young says the campaign has failed to progress its cause.

“I have been working tirelessly for the last month with numerous people and meetings to look at every possible opportunit­y to raise the funds needed. We have had many worthwhile meetings, some positive outcomes and some no’s. I can honestly say we have tried and continue to do so, but as of now, we aren’t there,” Young wrote in the email.

He said negotiatio­ns were set to begin with offshore venues ahead of a September 17 deadline.

“Time isn’t on our side . . . There is genuine interest internatio­nally to support our team and host the AC37 event. As we stated at the update — the RNZYS needs our team to represent the RNZYS by conducting a successful defence and event, so nothing has changed there.

We continue to work closely with TNZ towards this common goal.”

Team New Zealand was formed for the RNZYS pursuit of the America’s Cup in 1993 and so both parties are inextricab­ly linked as far as the next event is concerned.

“I have heard a few people say — ‘surely we can raise the money’; ‘it’s only $1m from 100 members’; ‘there must be a way; ‘if everyone put in $1000, then we got a bit more from someone. . .’ amongst other comments,” wrote Young.

“This isn’t a request for funding from our members, but is to communicat­e where we are at. That being said, if you do have a genuine interest and desire to be one of those unique 100 members mentioned above, then yesterday was the time to call us!

“We don’t want any of our members to look back and say we could have, would have or should have. Personally, I know that I have tried very, very hard, and if that isn’t enough, then so be it. All I ask is that you all do the same if you have the same desire.”

If the money fails to be raised to support a local defence, then a string of foreign cities and countries are reportedly in line to take Auckland’s place.

The Irish Examiner reported in June that Cork, the Isle of Wight, China, Saudi Arabia, Valencia and Dubai are all possible locations.

However, Dalton told the Herald in June a final decision will most likely not be made until the final deadline.

“The last time . . . honestly, I think it was 45 minutes before we were about to sign, to agree to go somewhere else, the deal was done to stay here. This is not us taking the Cup away yet.”

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