American and British America’a Cup challengers could be in NZ as soon as next week

Challengers American Magic and Team UK's Ineos will be arriving on New Zealand shores as early as next week after the breakthrough decision from the Government today.

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Challengers American Magic and Team UK’s Ineous have confirmed their arrivals after the breakthrough decision from the Government. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS understands Luna Rosa are talking with officials and an application will be in soon from them.

“It was getting very tight and still is very tight,” American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson said.

The Americans loaded their boat, Defiant, onto a ship in Florida bound for Auckland 20 days ago, with no idea if it could even enter NZ.

“We were incredibly lucky to get out of Pensacola three days into a hurricane season - a hurricane hit the Gulf Coast,” a laughing Hutchinson said.

For weeks, American Magic and Ineos have been pressuring the Government to process their visa exemptions, claiming not being here gave Team NZ an unfair advantage.

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Exemptions will also now be made for family members of New Zealand citizens, residents and essential workers. Source: 1 NEWS

Now with clearance into the country, the two syndicates will have more than 400 crew, family members and a nanny entering the country as early as next week.

“The first group of people is the shore team that's going to assemble the base and help get all that part of the structures put up and into the tent,” Hutchinson said.

Their base is under construction, with plenty of work still to do before Auckland's Viaduct is transformed into an elite sailing hub, boosting the economy with millions of dollars in the process.

“I also understand that Luna Rosa are talking with officials and will probably have an application from them before long as well,” Transport Minister Phil Twyford said.

Sailing is now set to be a breeze after the challenges these syndicates have faced.

“You have no idea. I'll take a nice 40 knot ride down the harbour on an AC75 - that will be the easiest. I'm looking forward to that day because that will be a welcome relief.”