America’s Cup: Push for special meeting on a home defence called off

America’s Cup racing is about to get under way with the challenger elimination series, the Prada Cup, starting on Friday. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

A special meeting due this week seeking to hold the next defence of the America’s Cup in home waters has been called off by the group of yacht squadron members opposing an offshore regatta.

Former Team New Zealand board member Jim Farmer QC and 34 members of the Royal New Zealand Squadron (RNZYS) have decided not to push the move, due to be put to the vote on Thursday night.

“It is clear that the (RNZYS) Special General Meeting is unlikely to be a constructive, transparent and rational debate on the critical AC Venue issue” said Farmer in a letter to the RNZYS commodore Aaron Young.

Farmer said those who had called for the special meeting of the club, which is the official holder of the cup, had been canvassed by Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton.

Dalton had apparently said a decision to hold the defence at home could cause the team to go into liquidation, due to a lack of revenue needed to help fund the sailing campaign.

“In my view, there was a real prospect that the SGM would be undermined by the threats made,” said Farmer in a media statement released on Monday.

Team New Zealand opted not to take up an event funding offer from the government, as it did not provide funding for the team, in the way it hoped overseas hosting would.

The cup defender is considering interest for a 2024 regatta from Ireland, Spain, and Saudi Arabia, as well as a further unnamed potential host.

“Efforts to maintain the Defence of the America’s Cup in Auckland will continue unabated and in particular Team NZ will continue to be challenged to justify its position that the funding of the event here is not viable,” said Farmer in the statement.

“My position remains also that the way forward, in the interests of everyone who has a genuine desire for the defence to take place in Auckland, is for direct discussions to take place to make this happen, if necessary with the assistance of a mediator or facilitator, between representatives of the squadron, Team NZ and those offering funding,” he said

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