Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

No cash from US Oracle

Oracle's catamaran.
Photo / Supplied
Oracle's catamaran. Photo / Supplied

Northland businesses and council leaders are gutted at losing out on a potential $10 million windfall after America's Cup holders Oracle scuppered plans to train in New Zealand this summer.

American billionaire Larry Ellison had decided to base his team at Marsden Cove marina, to prepare his catamarans for the defence of the Auld Mug.

Oracle ground crew were arriving in October with the yachtsmen, including Sir Russell Coutts, coming in January and staying until the end of May next year.

They had asked Hopper Development, which controls the marina, to find 50 houses to rent for the crew and their families. That would have pulled in more than $2m in rent.

But plans were dashed when Oracle revealed this week it was staying in San Francisco instead.

"It would have been an enormous boost for the region," said Paul Shanahan, marketing manager for Hopper Development. "It would have brought in maybe as much as $10m from the likes of rent, plus the Oracle families spending here and tourists coming to see the team train."

Whangarei deputy mayor Phil Halse said the news was a big blow. "It is very disappointing because so much work had gone into preparing for Oracle's visit."

Oracle said its testing would be better in the US.

- Herald on Sunday

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