Coronavirus, Yachting and the Future of America’s Cup 2021

While the coronavirus pandemic has hit all major businesses hard, yachting in particular is among the worst-hit industries.

From crew members getting their contracts put on hold or withdrawn altogether, to superyacht owners suffering financial losses, this has proven to be one of the toughest periods for yachties.

What started as a distant threat dismissed by many as an “exaggeration” has turned into a serious crisis for not just the yachting industry or even New Zealand, but the entire world.

But it’s not all bad news. Things are getting better as we speak. For instance, there have been zero fresh cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand over the last four days.

The country has entered Alert Level 2 since last week and life seems to be getting back to normal. People are finally getting out of homes, schools are opening up, and businesses are coming back in full swing.

But what does it all mean for the yachting industry? More specifically, what does the future hold for America’s Cup 2021 in New Zealand?

Let’s explore that below.

The Impact on America’s Cup 2021 in New Zealand

Yachties and fans alike have been eagerly waiting for America’s Cup 2021 in New Zealand for a long time. But the onset of the coronavirus has replaced the excitement with uncertainty.

For starters, out of the 100+ luxury boats that were expected to start arriving by the end of the year, many are likely to pull out due to border restrictions. According to Peter Busfield, the head of the Marine Industry Association, that figure could be as high as 50 percent.

Despite many setbacks, the organisers have announced no plans of cancelling or delaying the event. At least not yet. in otherwise. The actual loss could be a lot higher as the 50% or so luxury boats that do plan on visiting may not get border clearance after all.

But visiting boats are not the only ones pulling out.

Getting a racing superyacht and the team ready takes a lot of time and effort. But with the borders closed and no opening date in sight, the challengers are uncertain if they’ll make it.

For instance, the Malta Royal Altus Challenge has already announced withdrawal from the 2021 event in Auckland. This has been a huge blow for the event organisers and fans alike, and unless things change soon, other challengers might follow suit.

Furthermore, based on the latest reports, representatives from challenging teams are growing frustrated because of the lack of information from the government.

So the most burning question right now is...

Despite many setbacks, the organisers have announced no plans of cancelling or delaying the event. At least not yet.

With the millions of dollars and countless hours already invested, everyone is working hard to make the event happen.

For instance, US team American Magic has already started the process to export their AC75 to Auckland and it’s expected to arrive early next month.

Furthermore, most expert analysts, including senior yachting journalist Richard Gladwell, are expecting the cup to go ahead as planned. The local authorities in Auckland are also of the same optimistic view.

Keeping all those details in mind, the event is likely to go on as scheduled.

Naturally, there are no guarantees as anything can happen in the months leading up to March 2021. But with zero new virus cases over the past few days and the recent shift to Alert Level 2, things are expected to get better from here.

If the event does go on as scheduled, there will be a lot of work available as naturally a lot of crew members won’t make it, even if the border restrictions are lifted.

So if you’re looking to work as a captain, steward, boat engineer, or any other crew role — right now is a great time to register in our database. This way you’ll be one of the first to hear of any fresh job opportunities.

You can join our database by filling our simple registration form here.

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