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What Aucklanders need to know about the America’s Cup racing

Published: 17 December 2020

It’s finally here – the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA.

With the America’s Cup Race Village open and the racing on, Auckland has come alive as the battle to claim the world’s oldest sporting trophy returns once again to our shores.

Here’s what Aucklanders need to know to get in on the action and enjoy the racing.

The 36th America’s Cup racing cycle

It all started with the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland and Prada Christmas Race from 17–20 December.

Emirates Team New Zealand and all three challengers took to the Waitematā Harbour in the first America’s Cup race since Team New Zealand’s spectacular Bermuda win in 2017.

Racing resumes in January with the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series 15 Jan – 22 Feb, where the challengers will compete in a series of round robins to determine who will take on Defender Emirates Team New Zealand in the ultimate event, The 36th America’s Cup Match from 6–21 March.

Get in on the action with plenty of ways to watch

With races sailed closer to the shore than ever before, the 36th America’s Cup will be the most accessible in the event’s recent history. So, whether you’re keen to watch on-land, online, in the Village or even on the water, there are plenty of ways to experience the thrill and vibrancy of the racing.

Watch on land

There are five courses across the Hauraki Gulf and Waitematā Harbour, offering a range of options to cater to different wind directions and weather conditions. On racing days, the course selection will be confirmed at 10AM and advised to the public across a range of channels, including Race Ready for the 36th America’s Cup website and What’s on in Auckland Facebook.

Course selections have a significant bearing on on-land viewing options, so make sure you check the location before heading out to grab your spot.

Course A – Visible from Milford Beach, Takapuna Beach and other North Shore vantage points.

Course B – Visible from North Shore locations including Cheltenham Beach, Narrow Neck Beach and Maungauika North Head, which will be activated during Christmas racing.

Course C – Visible from Maungauika North Head, Orakei, Bastion Point and other locations along Tāmaki Drive.

Course D – Visible from South eastern beaches, including Achilles Point and Glover Park.

Course E – Visible from Maraetai and Musick Point.

Watch from the America’s Cup Race Village

The America’s Cup Race Village will also provide a vibrant, festive atmosphere on race days and beyond. Located in the Viaduct Marina in the heart of Auckland, the Village will be open until the racing concludes in March. The Village is completely free and open to the public, closed only on Christmas Day.

If you’re keen to travel to the America’s Cup Race Village and you have an access need, be sure to read up on Auckland Unlimited and Be. Lab’s accessible guide for racegoers. This includes an overview of accessible features on-site, entrances, transport information and maps outlining key features such as road gradients, information kiosks, accessible toilets and more. There’s also a web form and dedicated accessibility helpline for additional queries.

Watch from a Summernova festival site

Other events included in Auckland Unlimited’s Summernova Festival Series line up, will also provide top-notch viewing and a vibrant festive atmosphere.

Wrapping around the 36th America’s Cup from December to March, Summernova will spread the benefits throughout the region and ensure everyone can be part of the action.

Watch from the water

If you plan to get amongst the action on water, be sure to register your boat and review the Auckland Harbourmaster's advice for navigating the Waitematā Harbour and Hauaki Gulf before heading out.

Distinctive buoys have been installed to mark the lanes and transit lane restrictions will be enforced on race days as required. The transit lanes in force (Notice: 54 – 20) include:

  • from Bastion Point to Kohimarama (inside West Bastion Reef),
  • around North Head, between Torpedo Bay and Narrowneck Beach,
  • Rangitoto Island, south east of the lighthouse, and
  • the north side of Browns Island.

While activated, restriction zones in transit lanes include:

  • All vessels to keep to starboard (right) side of channel to ensure passing port to port.
  • Speed to be maintained at 5 knots, no stopping or slowing.
  • Travel the entire length of the lane, no turning.
  • Power driven vessels only. No sails to be hoisted.

Boat ramps and the roads leading up to them will be busy, so give yourself plenty of time to launch your boat, park your car legally and head out to the racecourse within the event speed limits. And remember, be patient and considerate. There will be security in place at boat ramps which are expected to be busier than usual.

Auckland Council curates a full list of all boat ramps in the region, which can be found here. Boat users can sign up for the most up to date on-water information by registering your boat at americascup.com/on-water-information

Before you head out on your boat this summer, check for pests, clean all equipment and close food containers to help protect the Hauraki Gulf and its islands.

Tune in or watch online

If you can’t make it to the action or prefer to stay local, don’t worry – there are still plenty of ways to experience the racing. The 36th America’s Cup will be broadcast free to air on TV1 with races livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube and the official America’s Cup website.

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