Over 90 boats from eight different nations are joining the America’s Cup fleet on the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland this week in an event that will see some of the world’s best known sailors competing in a hard fought regatta.
Being sailed from the Gulf Harbour Yacht Club, and raced in the same waters as the Louis Vuitton Cup, there are nine races scheduled starting on Sunday 3 November and concluding with a prizegiving on Friday 9 November. Wednesday is due to be a lay day, with the annual Golf tournament being held at the Gulf Harbour Golf Club.
Some of the more high profile entries include the America's Cup Stars and Stripes syndicate head, Dennis Conner (USA), taking some time off from running an America's Cup campaign to hopefully continue where he left off at the North American Championship shortly before his sixtieth birthday.
Third place at the North American Championship, Mark Thornburrow, one of three representatives from Hong Kong will be challenging Conner all the way to the final finish after finishing third in the USA earlier in the year.
Last year's World Champion and 1992 Olympic Finn representative Stuart Childerley (GBR) returns to defend the title he won in Lymington, Great Britain, with a different bowman, Roger Marino, replacing Nic Pearson, who is currently on America's Cup duty for GBR Challenge in Auckland.
Whilst all eyes will probably be on Dennis Conner, long time rival John Bertrand, the first person to steal the America's Cup off him in 1983, and currently ranked second in the Etchells World Ranking behind Conner, will surely be looking forward to beating DC again.
All in all, with such a list of world and America's Cup champions, the event looks to be as tight and exciting as any we've seen.
Measurement continues until Saturday.