America's Cup challenger docks in NZ

The New York Yacht Club's pursuit of the America's Cup has become tangible after their boat was the first of the challengers to arrive in Auckland.

The first challenger to arrive in Auckland for the America's Cup has injected fresh hope the regatta can get under way on time early next year.

American Magic's AC75 boat "Defiant" arrived at Waitemata Harbour via a container ship on Monday after a month-long journey from Florida.

The foiling monohull boat, backed by the New York Yacht Club, will be tested next month on the five courses to be used for the America's Cup before a fine-tuned second boat is flown into Auckland.

American Magic and British challengers INEOS Team UK were both granted border exemptions to enter New Zealand earlier this month.

That ended a period of confusion in which both teams became worried they would noy have enough time to prepare for the challenger series, placing the January start date in some jeopardy.

American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson said their arrival was an important moment for the event.

"If you think about where we started two and a half years ago, we virtually had nothing, there were a couple of us and a helmsman when we were piecing this thing together, and so to get to this point, to be the first challenger in Auckland, we're proud of everything that we've done," Hutchinson told reporters.

"You can't help but feel a positive sense of energy about the whole thing."

American Magic helmsman Dean Barker, a long-serving Team New Zealand skipper, and some of his crew mates will complete a two-week quarantine period this week and play a part in setting up their team base.

Not all of the syndicate's wider team are in Auckland and Hutchinson confirmed they would need to await further NZ government clearance to travel.

"A couple of days after the initial exemption was granted, we were given clearance for a certain portion of our team," he said.

"From there we're in a bit of a holding pattern, it's still nervous times."

The British challengers are expected to sail in Auckland in September, with Italian rivals Luna Rossa hitting the water a month later.

Defenders Team NZ have conducted tests in a smaller boat over the past two months.

The 36th America's Cup final is scheduled to start on March 6.


AAP