He divided hearts when he jumped ship from Team New Zealand to Alinghi. Now Sir Russell Coutts' new beachfront pad is doing the same.
The veteran America's Cup yachtsman is building a multi-million dollar Cape Cod-style mansion across three waterfront sections at Tindalls Bay on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, 40km north of Auckland.
The 53-year-old is not believed to have moved in yet but the three-level, 667 sq m property, which includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms, three living areas, and tennis and basketball courts, has not gone unnoticed by neighbours.
But their views are far from universal.
One resident said her beach views were now blocked by the mansion she thought looked like a "hospital or boarding house".
"This is a lovely little bay here and this thing has just overtaken [it]. I think it's dreadful. He's not very popular down here."
Neighbour Berneece Tait said Sir Russell's new pad was ostentatious.
"It's taken up properties where three families could've enjoyed the beach."
She would "grow up my trees so I don't have to look at it".
Auckland-based architectural critic Paul Litterick said the mansion was a "monster" that took up too much space in crowded Auckland and didn't fit in with "ramshackle, homely" Tindalls Bay.
"Seaside houses are supposed to be cheerful, jolly, eccentric. This one looks like an institution."
Another neighbour said the mansion, which was designed by award-winning Auckland architects Sumich Chaplin, was nothing special.
"The house is just so average."
But others backed the man who led Oracle Team USA to America's Cup victory two years ago. De Luen Ave homeowner Jeff Matthews said his views had improved, as a tennis court replaced what had been occupied by a house.
"There's similar properties along the beach at Manly and everyone thinks they're the most fantastic houses around. It's just that this is a little bit bigger. You're always going to get people who're envious or have their knickers in a twist."
Govindaraju Balasundram also had "no problem".
"As far as I'm concerned, good on him."
An Auckland Council spokeswoman said there had been no complaints about the property.
Hibiscus Coast-based Harcourts real estate agent Karen Franklin said the mansion was a tasteful home in a style not often seen in New Zealand and would be an "absolute masterpiece" once construction and landscaping was completed.
Sir Russell paid $7.7 million for the 2435sq m site, and she expected the value would rise to $12 million to $15 million once finished.
"[It will appeal] for the simple fact that you can be part of mainstream society in an absolutely amazing house in an amazing setting."
Sir Russell, who also owns a Takapuna apartment and property in Central Otago, could not be contacted.