Might as well take the America's Cup (if we actually had it) to the end of Bledisloe Wharf, biff it in and say to the Ports of Auckland and their grand schemes to further reduce the harbour, 'You reclaim it'.

News that Oracle seem to have reneged on Auckland hosting a regatta which would effectively have kept Emirates Team New Zealand in the America's Cup is as depressing as it is puzzling. It means Team NZ, as highlighted in this column a month ago, could be facing the end.

The motive is not clear. Reducing costs, yes - everyone agrees with that. But why now? Why make this sudden move to 45-foot catamarans, the AC45s, when 18 months and millions of dollars have gone into designing AC62s, the 62-footers supposed to reprise the thrills and spills in San Francisco in 2013?

If cost is the question, then the answer seems clear. On Tuesday, the vote that will be taken among the challengers for the America's Cup is likely to be a 3-2 victory for Oracle. The vote is on whether the regatta is staged in AC62s with an AC45 regatta in Auckland (which will mean Team NZ retain government and other sponsors' money) or whether the Cup is raced in Bermuda in AC45s, with no Auckland event.


On one side is Team NZ and Luna Rossa - the Italian Challenger of Record who have already threatened to withdraw if the boat size is changed. On the other side is Artemis, Britain's Ben Ainslie Racing and Team France.

To be blunt, Team France have no money, Ainslie is struggling for funds and anything which reduces boat size, travel costs and the overall competition budget will likely find favour with those two. Artemis are funded by Swedish billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist, but the word from sailing circles is they, too, are on board regarding the switch to 45s.

The European teams have been arguing against coming to the Auckland regatta because of the cost of transporting their boats and crew to New Zealand and then Bermuda. There are rumours they are asking for the Kiwis to bear some of those costs, hardly an option for a cash-strapped New Zealand outfit.

No Auckland regatta, no government money and likely no Team NZ.

If the AC45 option wins out, as seems likely, the only likely option for the Kiwis will be legal action at arbitration or even court level - although seeing the Cup back in the courts is enough to make one lose the will to live. Complicating that is the fact Luna Rossa changed the old system from one needing unanimous support to make a change of this magnitude to one which needs only a majority.

So back to Oracle. Team NZ have shown they have written acceptance of the event in Auckland from the organisers. That alone makes a legal challenge possible, even if everyone finds it difficult to stomach ... and finance.

Why award the event to Auckland, knowing it is necessary for the Kiwis' continued involvement, then rescind it? Even more puzzling is the fact a move to have the Cup sailed in 54-foot boats (they fit inside a container, reducing huge transport costs) earlier this year was supported only by Oracle and ... Team NZ.

You get the feeling Team NZ would agree to sailing in bathtubs if it meant keeping the Auckland regatta. Which makes it even more intriguing why Oracle has laid Tuesday's no-Auckland proposition in front of the challengers.

Oracle chief executive Sir Russell Coutts has previously been batting for the Auckland regatta. Oracle's change of heart is baffling. It seems someone has made a call - effectively ditching the New Zealanders but potentially allowing the French in; they now need much less money.


There's also the aspect of the America's Cup being sailed in weeny catamarans. The Cup's commercial commissioner, Harvey Schiller, said racing was expected to be similar to the last America's Cup through increased time foiling and advances in design and engineering.

Bunkum. The AC72s did what Oracle - in the face of much criticism and cynicism - said they would: create a real spectacle. The AC62s would do the same. But 45-footers? In sailing, bigger always means faster and bigger also means more impressive going faster.

If Luna Rossa hold to their threat to withdraw if the vote is lost, the Cup could be sailed in Bermuda with only three challengers in little, wee catamarans, not some of the majestic boats associated with the Cup.

Sorry, but that isn't the America's Cup. It's a bit of a joke, isn't it?