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America's Cup: Environmental court hearing on team bases takes only seven hours, not the several


AUCKLAND (#1101) – A serious issue for the Challenger of Record and the Challenging Teams is the requirement in the Application Requirements for substantial areas of "clear glazing" to allow the public (including team spies) to look directly inside the team buildings and see the activities and boats inside.If approved by the Court, this will be the first time such a requirement will apply in the America's Cup, where normally the boats are taken quickly inside, and all work takes place in secrecy. Although not raised as a specifically by the Challenging teams the fact is is that the bases are surrounded by easy vantage points, and in recent editions of the Cup the long lenses of Cup spies have been focussed on the Team New Zealand base, hoping to catch an inadvertent open door, and getting an early view of design development. Originally the requirement was Ground floor glazing/windows was set to be 60% of one of the sides of the Luna Rossa base on Hobson Wharf and 100% of the length of the western side of the other bases to allow what is quaintly termed "passive surveillance".These percentages were subsequently reduced to 30% for Luna Rossa and 33% of the base width for the remaining bases. Quite what triggered this "passive surveillance" requirement was never made clear. While the Protocol Provisions on Reconnaissance have been reduced from the strictures of previous America's Cup provisions, it is unlikely that the teams contemplated a situation where they could be working on a boat watched and photographed by their competitors peering through the Council specified window. Richard Gladwell (NZL), esteemed editor of the Kiwi edition of Sail-World.com and our long-time friend, in an article he has just posted and has kindly allowed us to share here on Sailing Illustrated.

Photo, above, is of the Auckland Viaduct. As noted in Richard's article, it is the area developed for America's Cup Bases and teams for the 2000 and 2003 America's Cups that has been taken over for other property development; new facilities are required for 2021, which will be the area to the right of this photo known as Wynyard Point. See Richard's full article for details. Photo by the late, great Bob Greiser (USA).

The article is one of Richard's usual, nicely-detailed photo-essays on a largely local topic that would make the eyes of a number of us glaze over; however, and speaking of glazing, he does illuminate the interesting angle on the "clear glazing" requirement that would allow "passive surveillance." LOL, in all my years in the Cup, I can't think of much surveillance that was passive!

Richard reports a hilarious comment made during the proceedings – "One of the parties in the Court Hearing noted that the New York Yacht Club would have loved to have had this [clear glazing] provision in the 1983 America's Cup, so they could see into the Australia II shed and what was really happening with the winged keel!" Hilarious, of course, because none of the teams had sheds in 1983, though AUSTRALIA II did, famously, skirt her keel with 24-hour guards to keep out even the odd drunken swimmer or diver that tried to have a look.

Photo from the Newport, RI waterfront in 1983 with the famously skirted, and eventual winner, AUSTRALIA II far left. Can you ID the other 12-metre yachts from that edition of the Cup? The answer to that question is elsewhere in this post.