All eyes will be on Team New Zealand for the launch of its new race boat on Friday, ending the traditional secrecy that goes with the unveiling of any new America's Cup design.
But what many people don’t know is that Kiwi boaties nationwide will benefit from another behind-the-scenes project involving our America's Cup team.
At the conclusion of the 36th America's Cup in 2021, Coastguard NZ will be gifted 26 support boats specially commissioned for the regatta.
This will include a number of chase and support boats built especially for Team New Zealand along with the official AM Cup regatta boats responsible for all the racing and course control.
“We're very fortunate. We get 26 new rescue vessels after the cup and we're working very hard to place them up and down the country,” says Patrick Holmes, Coastguard NZ CEO.
"Particularly in smaller communities who can't afford to buy new rescue vessels, this fantastic opportunity will ultimately save more lives, which is what the coastguard is all about.”
A $10 million lotteries grant is funding the project, which will result in the boats being constructed by two Auckland boat-building companies.
“The America’s Cup is a massive deal for our industry,” says Dave Larsen, CEO of Rayglass boats.
“Without it, we wouldn’t be building these boats. It’s huge for us and we’ve got three to four years work as a direct result.”
Rayglass has employed 10 new apprentices to cope with the additional workload and its CEO points to benefits flowing throughout the New Zealand marine industry.
“Our suppliers like stainless steel manufacturers, upholsterers, sign writers, trailer manufacturers and engine suppliers all benefit,” Mr Larsen says. “The event really does go a long way into the industry.”
At the end of the America's Cup, all the boats will be refitted so they are fit for purpose for the coastguard.
All branding will be removed and replaced with the official coastguard signage.