Sale of America's Cup pieces stirs controversy

The America’s Cup and the Louis Vuitton Cup
AC Media
Top New Zealand radio station, Newstalk ZB ( has been running reports over the past two days over the controversial New Zealand idea to sell a remnant of the original America's Cup to raise money for a charitable venture.

The station reoprts that in 1997, the America's Cup was badly damaged by a sledgehammer-wielding activist. As a result it had to be sent to London where it was rebuilt by master silversmiths, Garrards. Some parts were damaged so badly they had to be replaced completely. That meant some of the original pieces were left over.

Chairman of the Spirit of New Zealand trust Stephen Fisher purchased one of those pieces and has written to the Swiss yacht club that holds the Cup, advising them of his idea to auction the piece he purchased. The Swiss yacht club responded by instructing its lawyers to write to the Spirit of New Zealand trust asking them to drop an idea the Swiss view as tacky.

Mr Fisher says his idea is honourable, and that he bought the piece in good faith for the purpose of raising money for the turst's youth development programme, 'The Spirit of Adventure'. He says the real issue is whether the craftsman actually had the legal right to owning the left over pieces, and that was the point he was aiming to clarify by writing to SNG (the current holder of the Ameerica's Cup).

Today, Monday an updated story on Newstalk ZB reported there may have been a change of heart in that John Lister, CEO of the Spirit of Adventure Trust, says the part was going to be auctioned to raise money for the trust's youth programme. He says the trust does not want to damage New Zealand's reputation and if necessary, the piece will be returned to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which held the cup at the time.

He says the trust has had the piece for about a year after rescuing it from a bin at the London jewellers which repaired the cup.

For further updates on this story see

For the original story by Tony Chamberlain of the Boston daily Globe see:

Sale of A Cup -- Story is Now Public

For an interview with John Lister of the Spirit of New Zealand Trust see: