Superyachts absent for America’s Cup due to Covid-19

With just days to go until the start of yachting’s Prada Cup, the number of superyachts visiting New Zealand is well down on previously anticipated numbers due to Covid-19, reports Radio New Zealand.

The Royal New Zealand yacht squadron told RNZ that the economic impact could be huge.

Superyachts wanting to come into New Zealand for the America’s Cup can only enter under a special exemption, provided they have at least $50,000 to spend on refits and repairs.

The commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht squadron, Aaron Young, said this has meant the America’s Cup had taken a hit.

“Covid has probably reduced impact by around two thirds,” Young says.

There were originally around 140 expressions of interest for superyachts to attend, now the amount of coming will be fewer than 40, says RNZ.

Young said it hadn’t been easy to convince the authorities about the economic benefit of letting in superyacht owners – but some are already spending ‘big’ on repairs and refurbishments.

Young described one yacht owner who was spending $20m on a new tender for their yacht.

“There are some significant dollars, they don’t just come here and sit on the dock and pay the dock fees,” Young says.

Robbie Young from Harken New Zealand told RNZ that each boat would usually spend between $50,000 and $100,000 a month while at the cup, and that business had disappeared over the last year.

He estimated Harken has lost around $2m in revenue and was disappointed the government hadn’t followed through on promises to let in yachts.

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