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America's Cup XXX

In 2000, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will stage the 30th defense of sailing's most hallowed event, the America's Cup. The months-long regatta  — to begin in late 1999 and wrap up in February/March 2000  — will be headquartered in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, which is known as the City of Sails.

While Auckland's Waitemata Harbour is home to many small-boat regattas, the America's Cup will be sailed in the notorious Hauraki Gulf east of Auckland's North Shore between Rangitoto Island and Whangaparaoa Peninsula. This will provide the necessary depth of water and maneuvering room the 75-foot International America's Cup Class sailboats need to compete on the windward/leeward course that will stretch more than three miles.

The race course area is approximately an hour's tow from the Auckland waterfront where the racing syndicates are expected to be located.

The conditions there will be different from San Diego, but not much. The prevailing wind is southwesterly, with races likely to be held in a wind range of 5 to 25 knots. In San Diego, the upper limit was 18 knots. But because of the protection from the mainland and the large number of islands, there is little swell in the Hauraki Gulf, though wind waves come up with a stiff breeze.

Because of the higher wind range, the boats designed for the coming event are expected be slightly heavier and have sturdier rigs than those sailed in San Diego.

Eight to 12 challengers are expected to have boats on the starting line, and are likely to be headquartered in the Hobson's Wharf area of the Auckland waterfront, along with the defender Team New Zealand. Hobson's Wharf is the area where the Whitbread fleet lies during its stopover during the grueling round-the-world race.

Plans call for more dredging of the shallow waters, and for constructing an America's Cup Centre that will be used as a public boating facility once the America's Cup is over.

No defender trials are scheduled, as there will be just one defense team, Team New Zealand. However, there will be plenty of on-the-water testing of the New Zealand boats, as well as crew training and practice.

The challenger trials will begin in late 1999 and the best-of-nine America's Cup match is set to begin February 26, 2000  — mid-summer in New Zealand. For all the race dates and other details, see the America's Cup Fact Sheet.


AMERICA'S CUP DEFENSE | ROYAL NEW ZEALAND YACHT SQUADRON
ABOUT NEW ZEALAND | CHART OF NEW ZEALAND | PHOTOS


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