8 Mar 2021

America's Cup races resume, 'fun mayhem' expected

6:23 pm on 8 March 2021

By Carmina Blewett

Hundreds of boaties are expected to be out on Tāmaki Makaurau's Hauraki Gulf and Waitematā Harbour this week for the America's Cup events.

America's Cup teams Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand.

America's Cup teams Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand. (File photo). Photo: Emirates Team New Zealand

Racing will get under way on Wednesday after a week-long delay caused by the rise in alert levels for Covid-19.

Ōrākei Marina is anticipating boat chaos as more spectator boats will be out on the water than during the Prada Cup.

Director Jason Sanshall said the marina could empty by as much as three-quarters, with more than 130 vessels heading out.

"It's going to be chocker, it's going to be pretty busy through the Prada Cup ... so now that we're going to be seeing Team New Zealand again, I'm sure it's going to be mayhem, but it'll be fun mayhem."

Sanshall said those on the water needed to "go slow and be courteous to fellow boaties".

One of Auckland's best-known sailors, Penny Whiting was looking forward to the start of racing. She has taught over 30,000 people how to sail over the past 50 years.

"For race one of the America's Cup, I will be out there on Wednesday and can't wait."

While excited at the prospect of racing, she also believed that speed restrictions imposed for the cup would be enough to control spectator boats.

"When we used to come in at 10, 12 and 15 knots, it was bedlam because the wake was horrible - the little boats were rolling all over the place, and now everybody's doing six or seven knots it's really fine, it's not a problem," Whiting said.

One of the sights of the Prada Cup between Luna Rossa and Ineos Team UK was the large flotilla of yachts heading back after racing, then getting into line to make their way into marina berths.

Coastguard northern area regional manager Ray Burge is asking boaties to get out early on the water, keep their distance, and not to rush back.

"When the race is finished, take your time - don't have any deadlines as such to get home," Burge said.

The Coastguard is expecting interest to grow through the weekend.

America's Cup organisers believe there will be "heaps of us" who want a piece of the action on the water and are encouraging only people with a boat five metres or longer to go out and be safe.

The America's Cup official website also said Auckland boat ramps could be extra busy, and warned roads around boat ramps would have limited parking.

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