TEAM New Zealand’s tilt at the next America’s Cup has taken a hit, with competitors suddenly asked to develop their own base in San Francisco for next year’s regatta.
Skipper Dean Barker said event organisers had told teams racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup in California, starting in July, that they would not now be paying for any redevelopment of the two downtown harbour piers that had been designated for teams.
TNZ are only six months out from relocating to America, and had been expecting a fully functioning base, including hospitality areas and public access to watch the teams preparing and launching their boats.
“It is now going to be a concrete slab with absolutely nothing on it which will now require us to secure cranes, jettys, and all services required to function, ” Barker wrote on his blog at Kiwi Yachting Consultants, where he is a director.
“We have never budgeted for this and to be dropped on us now is quite unbelievable.
“I have to say we are a long, long way from the vision presented to us back in September 2010.”
He is in the city, preparing his team for the second regatta of the 2012-13 World Series, sailed in smaller 45-foot catamarans.
He was “stunned” to learn of developments for the America’s Cup.
“Larry Ellison has done a lot for this America’s Cup and has put a lot of his own financial resource into making the America’s Cup next year a big event.
“However I think in terms of a lot of decisions made along the way by different people, here we are with only three challengers and now no base facility to operate out of.
“This is a long way from the success of 2007 in Valencia no matter how you package it,” Barker said.
Costs were also increased by the fact they had to race 72-foot catamarans.
“The catamarans are great but the AC72’s are just way too expensive. Not only is the design and build of the new boats extreme, but then you need a small army just to launch and retrieve the boat each day let alone the work to maintain it.
“There is no question the AC72 racing next year will be spectacular. That is fortunate because the rest of the show looks to be well below expectations.”
Team NZ have been testing their first cat in Auckland, and are close to commencing work on their second.