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New Zealand eases restrictions for America’s Cup return

New Zealand eases restrictions for America’s Cup return

SAILING: America’s Cup teams are returning to the water after more than two months away due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing a global shutdown.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 1 July 2020, 12:00PM

The New Zealand government recently relaxed border restrictions to allow personnel and staff from American and British America’s Cup teams to enter and work in the country.

This has come as welcome news to everyone connected tothe world’s oldest sports trophy, not least of all Captain Charlie Dwyer, a Koh Samui resident, co-founder of Asia Pacific Superyachts and a former America’s Cup team member.

Sailing as a child at the local Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island USA, Charlie worked with the Kennedy family and raced in the Newport to Bermuda Race, the Long Island Fall Series and most other Regattas.

He has been a crew member in the Admiral’s Cup, the America’s Cup for the Courageous Team, the America’s Cup for the Eagle Team and in the International Match Racing circuit.

He has also served as Captain of the Maxi Yachts Longobarda, Vanitas, Othello and Kialoa III, Yannaka Too and is now skippering a superyacht in global waters.

“It’s great the Government will now allow personnel from American and British America’s Cup syndicates to prepare in Auckland for the famous sailing event scheduled for March 2021,” he commented after the New Zealand government relaxed border restrictions.

A recent America’s Cup announcement from New Zealand that more than 200 staff and family members from the U.S. challenger American Magic and 214 workers and family members from Britain’s Ineos Team UK have been granted dispensation to enter New Zealand was welcome news to Charlie, particularly as the country had closed its borders to most international travelers.

The foreign teams will be allowed to build bases in Auckland and carry out boat testing ahead of the 36th America’s Cup regatta, which is set for March 6-21 next year.

Team New Zealand is preparing to defend the world’s oldest sports trophy against challengers from the United States, Britain and Italy.

New Zealand border exemptions

Other news having an impact on America’s Cup planning is an announcement that border exemptions will soon be available for vessels, including work vessels, yachts and superyachts.

UWC Thailand

The New Zealand Government has announced key changes to its border restrictions that includes a new maritime exception for vessels, one including yachts and superyachts with a ‘compelling need’ for the vessel to travel to New Zealand. ‘Compelling need’ includes delivery of a vessel to a business; to refit and repair; for crew handover; as a response to an emergency or humanitarian situation; to supply or support ongoing operations; or for discharge of catch.

 “Refit and servicing vessels contributes 25% to the NZ$2 billion (B39.6bn) New Zealand marine industry and we now look forward to seeing many of our companies regaining some of the lost business from over the past four months,” said NZ Marine’s executive director Peter Busfield.

“This new border exemption comes just in time for the crucial period of July to November, when the majority of visiting vessels requiring refit or repair schedule their arrival in New Zealand,” he added.

 Dwyer confirmed border restrictions are also impacting another part of the event, referring to an article in NewsHub on June 28, 2020 entitled “New Zealand border restrictions threaten Youth America’s Cup”.

“The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron warns that tens of millions of dollars could be lost if immigration rules aren’t sorted soon,” the article reports.

“Seventeen teams from around the world have already signed up for the Youth America’s Cup, which, for the first time, will feature mixed crews. But if they don’t have certainty soon, the whole event could be in jeopardy.

“Crews of four – two men and two women – aged between 18 and 25 will compete to become the best young sailors in the world. The event will run alongside the America’s Cup in February and March next year.

“There’s just one problem. Because of NZ’s strict border rules, none of the teams can get into the country.”

The New Zealand government and associated organisations are working hard to bring about solutions, something that many supporters such as Captain Charlie Dwyer applaud wholeheartedly.

- Asia Pacific Superyachts

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