International sport's oldest trophy is coming to the Far North in October.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will take the America's Cup, and some of the Team NZ crew, on a two-week, 23-town tour of the country, starting at the Taipa Sailing Club on October 6, followed by the Kerikeri Domain and the Whangarei Cruising club on October 7, and ending in Invercargill.
Kerikeri businessman Dave Keen, who is helping to organise the Bay of Islands stopover, said the sailors accompanying the cup had yet to be confirmed, but he hoped Andy Maloney, who began sailing with the Kerikeri Cruising Club and the Kerikeri High School sailing programme before moving to Auckland, would be among them.
We want to make sure the regions get an opportunity to see the world's oldest sporting trophy."
Chris Hornell (Opua), the head of on-water operations in Bermuda, and hydraulics engineer Carsten Mueller (Waipapa) were expected to be coming.
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Various displays and opportunities for public interaction were planned, said Mr Keen, who had tried to organise a homecoming parade in Kerikeri, helmsman Peter Burling, sailor Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney all having ties to the town, but Team NZ was unable to fit it in.
Royal NZ Yacht Squadron general manager Hayden Porter said the tour was a way of giving back to smaller clubs, where many top sailors got their start in the sport.
"We want to make sure the regions get an opportunity to see the world's oldest sporting trophy. It'll also promote the sport and hopefully bring the towns to the clubs," he said.
The cup will be on display at the Taipa Sailing Club from 5-7pm on October 6, the Kerikeri Domain from noon to 2pm and Whangarei Cruising Club from 5-7pm on October 7.