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America's Cup Update

New Zealand Begins Sailing Program;
Waterfront Development Unlikely to Be Delayed Further

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (January 13, 1997) — Team New Zealand ratcheted its America's Cup defense effort up a notch last week with the beginning of its sailing program. The two black boats — NZL 32 and NZL 38 — sailed in Auckland's Waitemata Harbor.

Dubbed "Black Magic" during their dominance in the 1995 challenge trials, the boats will spend the next three to four months in full-scale testing on the America's Cup course off Auckland's East Coast bays. The process will be repeated each summer between now and the Cup defense in the year 2000, said team spokesman Alan Sefton.

Sponsors Named

In conjunction with the harbor sail, the Kiwis announced their "Family of Five" sponsors, which will provide much of the funding for Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's America's Cup defense. The sponsors are Steinlager, New Zealand Lotto, Telecom New Zealand, TV New Zealand and Toyota New Zealand.

Swiss Challenge

The late challenge filed by the Club Nautique de Morges in Switzerland is in the process of being validated. The Swiss club filed its challenge, which is headed by Pierre Fehlmann and French sailor Marc Pajot, in late October. If validated, the Swiss entry would increase the number of challengers to 11.

The deadline for submitting a challenge was May 14, 1996, but RNZYS is accepting late challenges up to May 14 this year. However, the entry fee is doubled to US$200,000 for late entrants.

America's Cup Centre

Three appeals have been lodged against the planning consent process for the development of an America's Cup Centre at Auckland's Viaduct Basin, according to Sefton. The appeals are likely to be heard in mid- to late February.

Barring any further delays in the planning process, officials are hopeful that work on the project will begin in early March, Sefton said.

The challenger trials are expected to get under way in mid-November 1999, with the best-of-nine America's Cup match set to begin Feb. 26, 2000.

For more details, see the America's Cup Fact Sheet and the section on the America's Cup Defense. For earlier news articles, see the AmericaOne Newsline Archives.


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