Team New Zealand has come out firing at Luna Rossa this morning, saying the Challenger of Record has “destroyed” the opportunity for thousands of sailing fans to watch America’s Cup action live.
Two race courses situated in the inner part of Waitematā Harbour, which offer the best public viewing for next year’s America’s Cup, have been scratched thanks to an argument made by Luna Rossa.
Luna Rossa argued because some restrictions may apply on some days to the courses in question, they shouldn’t be used it all.
The America’s Cup Arbitration Panel agreed with the argument and removed the two courses but Team NZ argues it’s a deliberate bid by a challenger to hurt the event.
“This decision has considerable and negative repercussions to the accessibility of the event for the public of Auckland and New Zealand, the safety of the event and the reliability of the racing,” Team NZ said in a statement.
“The images with Auckland City as a backdrop during racing have always been a critical part of showcasing Auckland and New Zealand to the world in an event with a significant global audience, and another reason for the original race course designs.”
Team NZ CEO Grant Dalton added the decision is “unbelievable”.
“Quite frankly we are outraged by this decision, it has gone against everything we have been trying to achieve over the last three years, with no consideration to the effect this has on the public of New Zealand and the city of Auckland.”.
Team New Zealand is now considering options to appeal the decision.
The Prada Cup challenger series starts in mid-January with the winner racing Team New Zealand for the America's Cup in March.