Auckland to host SailGP regatta in 2025

Publish Date
Wednesday, 10 July 2024, 9:34AM

By Christopher Reive

Auckland will host a SailGP event in season five, kicking off the Australasian leg.

The event, moved from Christchurch, will feature 11 teams and an extended 14-stop schedule.

Economic issues and a dolphin sighting influenced the move from Christchurch to Auckland.

New Zealand will remain a fixture on the SailGP schedule for season five, with Auckland to play host to the global foiling league this summer.

The regatta falls earlier in the SailGP season than the past two in Christchurch, with the January 18-19 event being the second on the calendar – after Dubai’s season opener in November – and kicking off the Australasian leg of the season.

It comes after a false start in the season four calendar for Auckland, which was scheduled to host the New Zealand event but was deemed unsuitable because the land wanted for use as a spectator zone on Wynyard Quarter was not cleared for use. Christchurch took on the event at short notice, after a successful debut in 2023.

Speaking to the Herald, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited head of major events Michelle Hooper confirmed the unavailable land was no longer an issue.

“There was a long-standing lease on the land that is no longer there. There was a programme of remediation at the site for a long period of time. However, we’ve worked through the mitigations for that with SailGP and the landowners and everyone is comfortable with the plans in place for the event to go ahead for 2025.

“I’ve been new in the role for about eight weeks and it’s been the No 1 project since I got here. The conversations have never stopped in terms of rolling this out and fulfilling Auckland’s two years for the event.

“It’s really great to be in a situation where all those conversations are aligned and now we can focus on putting on a spectacle on the Waitematā.”

The confirmation of the Auckland event will allow the league to continue to build on its growing fan base in New Zealand and the season four performance of the Black Foils, who will be one of three teams to race in this weekend’s US$2 million grand final in San Francisco. Season five features an extended 14-stop schedule and will see 11 teams on the water at the start of the campaign.

“Eleven F50s lighting up Auckland harbour will be an awesome sight and with a grandstand super close to the racing it’s going to be unbelievable,” Black Foils driver Peter Burling said.

“It’s so exciting to be going into the season grand final this week and know that we have a home event locked in for next season. The whole team is stoked to know we’ll be bringing Amokura to race in Auckland – there’s nothing like racing the F50 in front of a home crowd and hearing them cheer.”

When SailGP announced it would bring events to New Zealand back in 2021, the league signed a four-year agreement for Christchurch and Auckland to host in alternate years, beginning with Christchurch in 2023. The league confirmed last month that it would not be returning to Christchurch in season five.

SailGP’s departure from Christchurch came after the opening day of racing in March was called off because a dolphin was sighted on the course.

While the second day of racing went ahead without a hitch and served up one of the best days of racing in the league’s history, SailGP chief executive Sir Russell Coutts cast doubt on the event returning to Christchurch.

Economic development agency ChristchurchNZ accepted SailGP’s decision to withdraw from the 2025 hosting agreement.

“There was an agreement of two and two, and Christchurch have fulfilled their two years and now it’s Auckland’s time to have some time in the sun,” Hooper said.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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