Auckland is the New York of New Zealand. Not the capital, it is the business and cultural center of New Zealand. Over 1/4 of the population of New Zealand live in the greater Auckland area. There are over a million people living in and around Auckland.
The city is situated on a harbor which is an active seaport and also the sight of almost nightly sailboat racing. This is the home of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club and (for now) the home of the America's Cup.
Cup Fever is rampant in Auckland. While we were visiting most of the teams were sailing boats from the previous cups to get familiar with the waters and the weather in the summer months when the regatta is held. The racing will be outside the harbor in the Haruaki Gulf which still receives some protection from the ocean swell provided by Great Barrier Island but it will be a bit rough and many an unsuspecting spectator will lose their expensive lunch on one of the many high priced spectator boats that will follow the racing.
It will be difficult to get out and watch the racing on your own yacht. There will be formidable controls on the spectator fleet so it will probably be better to watch the racing on TV. It should be fun to be around the Cup Village as there will be parties and events almost every day during the months of the competition. It is going to be expensive to hang out in Auckland during the Cup. Most marinas have not yet confirmed a price for berthing during the Cup but we know one boat that "Cut a Deal" in advance and will pay $8,000 NZ per month for berthing near the Cup Village for a 70 foot boat. The mega-yacht basin will charge $10 per foot per day and it is already sold out. If you are coming, consider Gulf Harbor which is closest to the racing or leave the boat in Fiji and fly down and get a hotel room, it will be cheaper.
Team New Zealand is in high gear and they feel pretty confident that they will defend. They have a lot of support from the local population and they know the waters. The New Zealand Yachting Industry is very strong and they view the cup as a prime opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities.
We had the opportunity to get to know Dawn Riley, CEO and skipper of the America True Cup Challenge. She is one of the top sailor's at this level and she has built a very strong team to compete for the cup. She has gone after the best people for each position regardless of sex or nationality and we believe that this respect for diversity will pay big dividends in the team dynamics. She is a strong leader and we are pulling for her and her team all the way. We were pleased that our Oakland Yacht Club aligned with their effort. They are not as well funded as many of the teams so go down to Pier 17 and but an America True T-Shirt and help the cause. The Godzilla on the side of the boat was put on with masking tape as a joke and we snagged a picture which we submitted to Latitude 38. I hope we didn't get on Dawn's S-List.
This last picture is not of any meaning except that it made us think of Van Draper on Blaze. Its hard to explain, you will have to ask Van if you see him.