BY APB Staff on 24 Nov 2023

The racing league will not head to Auckland in March 2024.

The SailGP fleet in action on Race Day 1 of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch - photo © David Gray SailGP

The SailGP fleet in action in Christchurch. Image: David Gray/SailGP

SailGP, the high-octane global racing league, will not stage its upcoming event in Auckland, originally due to take place in March 2024, due to a dispute over land required for a spectator facility.

In a statement, the council-run cultural agency Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says that Auckland has been working with SailGP to ‘explore all possible options’ to stage the event in the city.

The statement reads: “Along with Auckland Council group, [we] had solutions for SailGP’s on-water course and on-land seating plans. However, the unavailability of Wynyard Point land as a spectator facility proved to be a barrier to holding the event in Auckland. This land was part of SailGP’s original vision for the sailing competition.

“We are excited to showcase Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour and waterfront at the inaugural Moana Auckland, New Zealand’s Ocean Festival in February and March next year.

“Aucklanders and visitors can look forward to enjoying a range of activities and events, including the Millennium Cup superyacht regatta, Wooden Boat Festival, the popular Auckland Boat Show and the new World Manu Champs alongside some amazing entertainment for the whole family.”

Canada SailGP Team in action on Race Day 2 of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch, New Zealand - photo © Bob Martin SailGP

Canada SailGP Team in action. Image: Bob Martin/SailGP

The SailGP regatta was slated to take place from 23-24 March 2024, and would have been among the highlights of the new Moana Auckland event running in February and March.

SailGP has not issued an official comment on the decision so far.

In July, SailGP revealed a new regional structure and team for Asia Pacific after seeing ‘significant growth’ in the region during Season 3.

The new model for APAC — which includes Australia, New Zealand and other Asian markets such as China — is designed to promote growth and commercialisation for SailGP Season 4 and beyond.

In 2022, organisers excluded the Japan team ‘indefinitely’ after the Nathan Outteridge-led team failed to make the starting line in the first two races of the season.

Simon Bruty SailGP

Image: Simon Bruty/SailGP

Wynyard Point was reclaimed from the ocean using fill material from a former gasworks site. The lease on the various sites were due to expire between 2022-2024, however, in advance of the 36th America’s Cup event, negotiations enabled the businesses to relocate elsewhere earlier than anticipated.

The site is now leased by Emirates Team New Zealand. Remediation works to clear the site of containments are ongoing, as the site was previously used to store hazardous materials.

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