A new village on Auckland's waterfront is taking shape days out from the Volvo Ocean Race stopover.
As Team New Zealand's Camper sailed past the Solomon Islands yesterday in fourth place on the leg home, team boss Grant Dalton was excited about the race's first visit to Auckland in a decade.
A shipload of containers from Dubai arrived last weekend for the event, previously known as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
He hoped the week-long visit - and the newly-built village - would rekindle Kiwi interest in the global contest.
"It's a short stopover but I think it'll be really popular."
The Viaduct Events Centre and Te Wero will be the focus of much activity this coming weekend. A colourful stage was taking shape yesterday next to Te Wero Bridge.
Race spokeswoman Penny Dain said the first yachts were due in about Friday. A series of functions and parties would follow, with a highlight a St Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday March 17.
On the water, there are pro-am races on the harbour on Friday March 16, series-counting short-course racing on Saturday March 17, with the leg to Brazil starting on March 18. Camper's chances of reeling in the fleet depended on it taking advantage of predicted storms.