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America's Cup Update - Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council - City Scene

The first of the Round Robin series for the Louis Vuitton Cup leading to the defence of the America's Cup in February next year, started last Monday with some competitive racing on the Hauraki Gulf. Prior to racing, the 11 challengers and Team New Zealand, accompanied by bands and marching teams, officially launched the Cup challenge, with a colourful parade down Queen Street.

Attendances at the American Express New Zealand Cup Village are increasing, with 23,000 people visiting over one recent weekend. On view are the challengers' yachts and bases, mega-dollar super yachts, on stage events and promenade entertainment, which is complemented by caf‚s, restaurants and bars, all providing a kaleidoscope of colour and a buzz of activity. Auckland City has been instrumental in the $42 million revamp of Viaduct Harbour, the home of the event, over the next five months.

International sporting media are arriving to cover the event, with Tourism Auckland's Media Resource Centre estimating there will be around 200 media for the 'round robin' stages and many more due to arrive as the regatta series gathers momentum.

The Resource Centre is getting between 30 - 40 enquiries each day from the overseas media and regatta coverage is being networked around the world.

A number of super vessels have tied up at the Cup Village, including the 33 metre sailing yacht Avalon and the motor yacht Spada. The $60 million Hyperion, owned by Netscape entrepreneur Jim Clark brings the number of super yachts to ten, with up to 100 expected.

In addition, a variety of 'for hire' vessels are available for charter for the race days and people will be picked up from the Viaduct before heading out to the regatta course. One operator, On Board New Zealand, is providing a fleet of luxury catamarans with a full catering and beverage service. Guided walking tours of the Cup Village are also being offered by City of Sails Walking Tours, and will include information about the history of the Cup, its sailing personalities and the challengers.

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