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Americas Cup: Emirates Team New Zealand is first team to set up for AC36

by Richard Gladwell, 11 Oct 2018 01:41 PDT
Emirates Team New Zealand's new base having repairs and alterations undertaken last week © Richard Gladwell

Emirates Team New Zealand has started the shift from the concrete bunker which served as an oil storage facility administration office, to the glass palace, which dominates the Viaduct harbour, with its distinctive roof and otherwise known as the Viaduct Events Centre.

A week or so ago the VEC was hosting the Auckland On the Water Boat Show, and what is now covered with desks and partitions was filled with shows stands, including ours at Sail-World.

It was also the focal point for the Volvo Ocean Race, housing The Boatyard, with the Volvo Ocean race fleet parked outside either on the hard stand or in a specially constructed marina.

The bunker and its attendant container walled tent city was spartan, and few if any professional sports teams would have worked under such conditions, let alone made the comeback from the 11-8 win result, and the devastating final week of the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco.

The key to the shift to the new building is to retain the Team Tough culture that has got the team out of some very difficult situations over the past few years. Now they are in the most salubrious team base in America's Cup history.

Oddly enough the acquisition of the swank VEC by the team was the result of desperate 11th hour cost cutting to stop the team giving up on its dream of hosting the 36th America's Cup in Auckland and instead taking the event to the alternate venue in Italy. The VEC was originally planned to be used as a media centre and international broadcast centre for the event, and those plans have had to be reworked to arrange other premises.

Ironically under most of the eight plans developed for the hosting of the 36th America's Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand was the last of the teams to move into its allocated base. Under one scenario for base delivery, the Defender would have launched both its AC75's before it received its new base area. It didn't have the depth of water off its former base to even float an AC75, and clearly they were on a hiding to nowhere. Now it is has got a jump of 12 months plus on the Challengers.

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