The America's Cup is going on a national tour of the regions to give New Zealanders the chance to see the trophy and also inspire a new generation of young Kiwis to get into the sport.
The trophy will journey from its normal home at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and tour the country from October 6-18, starting in the north at the Taipa Sailing Club and working its way down to the Bluff Yacht Club.
“This has been something very important to myself and the team since winning it," Emirates Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton said. "We really felt the support from everyone all over New Zealand when we were in Bermuda and want to repay that support by getting it to as many people as possible.
“We want to get as many young kids interested in sailing as we can. What we are seeing now with today's stars like Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Andy Maloney and Josh Junior is that they are the generation of kids that were inspired by winning the Cup in 1995 and 2000 and have emerged as the best in the world that have won the Cup again.
“We want to encourage the next generation to take the sport up and continue the strong legacy of sailing in NewZealand.”
The other key objective is to help raise funds for local clubs in the hope of strengthening their programmes, none more so than the Pleasant Point Yacht Club who are fundraising to build a new yacht club that was destroyed in the Christchurch earthquakes.
Among other pit stops, the trophy will pay special visits to the towns of Edgecumbe and Kaikoura where residents have been battling to recover from the recent floods and earthquakes respectively.
“While we have been caught in our bubble of immense work and pressure of winning the America’s Cup, the adversity the people of Edgecumbe and Kaikoura hasn’t gone unnoticed by the team and we hope by taking the America’s Cup to them is a small thing we can do to help them on their road to recovery,” Dalton said.
The America’s Cup will travel around the country in a convoy of Emirates Team New Zealand-branded Toyota Hiluxs and will be escorted by team members including Maloney, Junior, Guy Endean, Joe Sullivan, Simon van Velthooven, Ray Davies and Richard Meacham.
The current schedule is:
Fri 6th October - Taipa Sailing Club
Sat 7th October - Kerikeri Cruising Club
Sat 7th October - Whangarei Cruising Club
Sun 8th October - Thames Sailing Club
Sun 8th October - Mercury Bay Yacht Club
Mon 9th October - Edgecumbe
Mon 9th October - Rotorua Yacht Club
Tue 10th October - Taupo Sailing Club
Wed 11th October - Napier Sailing Club
Thu 12th October - Queen Charlotte Yacht Club
Fri 13th October - Lake Brunner Yacht Club
Sat 14th October - Kaikoura Boating Club
Sat 14th October - Pleasant Point Yacht Club
Sun 15th October - Timaru Yacht and Powerboat Club
Sun 15th October - Oamaru Yacht and Powerboat Club
Mon 16th October - Wanaka Yacht and Powerboat Club
Mon 16th October - Queenstown- Wakatipu Yacht Club
Tues 17th October -Bluff Yacht Club
Wed 18th October - New Plymouth Yacht Club