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Three prominent RNZYS members resign over Barcelona hosting

by Radio New Zealand/Sail-World 18 Aug 23:35 PDT 19 August 2022
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron © RNZYS

Radio New Zealand reported this evening in its Checkpoint drive-time news program, on Friday, that three prominent members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have resigned over the decision to allocate the the venue hosting for the 2024 America's Cup to Barcelona.

The State-owned radio station quoted an open letter to Royal NZ Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) Commodore Aaron Young, where Sir Michael Fay, who headed up the 1987, 1988 and 1992 America's Cup bids by New Zealand Challenge, and has since continued to be involved with the Kiwi team, has tendered his resignation to the club which is the four times winner of the most prestigious trophy in sailing.

Leaving the club with him is Alan Sefton, who was deeply involved at a management level in New Zealand's campaigns from 1987-2003, including two Cup wins, as well as all of Sir Peter Blake's Round the World race programs. Also resigning is Andrew Johns, a legal adviser on multiple Cup challenges, says the Radio New Zealand report.

In the letter, the three said: "For the best part of 40 years, New Zealand has enjoyed an emotional magic carpet ride with that event as its sailors, designers, boatbuilders and sailmakers, with the support of a highly innovative marine industry, rose to the challenge to completely dominate the oldest and one of the greatest events in world sport and take lead positions in the technologies and skills needed to make that possible.

"Yet, when the country is in position to reap the considerable rewards for those endeavours and achievements, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron sells off the rights to hosting the event.

"That, to us, is a slap in the face for everyone and everything that have gone before."

Sir Michael told Checkpoint the club had done entirely the wrong thing.

"There was no need to do it and we thought the only thing we could do, to express our dissatisfaction and the bad decisions that were taken, was to resign from the club.

"We've been collectively in it for 150 years, so we did enjoy it. But … the club's obligations were very, very obvious.

"When someone wins the cup, the cup belongs to the club, not the owner of the winning yacht. That goes back to as early as almost the Treaty of Waitangi - it's back into the 1860s.

"It's been consistent all the way along, talked about a lot in arbitration panels and it's always the same. It does not belong to the owner of the vessel that wins. It belongs to the club."

Sir Michael said he, Johns and Sefton had been ruminating and found that if they strongly disagreed with the decision, their only option was to vote with their feet.

"Reluctantly, but resigning," he said.

For the full story click here

A spokesman for Emirates Team New Zealand told Sail-World they had no comment to make on the matter.

Letter of Resignation sent to Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

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