Arrival anxiety for America's Cup teams

America's Cup challengers say they need to know when they'll be allowed to enter New Zealand, placing the regatta's scheduled start date in jeopardy.

Australian sailing great Grant Simmer says concern is growing at a lack of clarity over when challengers can arrive in New Zealand to begin preparing for the America's Cup.

Eight months out from the challenger series in Auckland, two syndicates have expressed frustration that their base-building staff and sailing teams are in the dark over receiving Kiwi work visas - a concern that could place the regatta's schedule in jeopardy.

Speculation in some media reports is that the four challengers may push for a delay to the regatta or for it to be moved to a different location.

Simmer, the chief executive of British challengers INEOS Team UK, said there is also a need for teams to get their boats to their race venue to begin testing, something defenders Team New Zealand presently have the benefit of doing in their own AC75 craft.

The New York-based American Magic syndicate is pressuring the New Zealand government to declare when foreign nationals will be allowed entry.

A veteran of 10 America's Cup campaigns in various roles, Simmer said most of the British team, in excess of 100 people, will require work visas and are expecting to have to undergo two weeks' of quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We don't know when we can come down to New Zealand. We need to get a forward party there to set up the base and start things happening," Simmer told a Cruising Yacht Club of Australia podcast.

"The New Zealand Government have been silent on that.

"They (American Magic) are getting a bit sh**** with the Kiwis.

"But we're playing a competitive game, and I don't think the Kiwis are in any hurry to tell us when those visas are going to be issued and when in fact we can go to New Zealand."

The challenger series on Hauraki Gulf is set to begin in January after several weeks of warm-up races.

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


AAP