Auckland's Hauraki Gulf will officially play host to the some of the world's best sailors in March 2021.
At an overture in the Isle of Wight in the early hours of Saturday morning (NZ time), Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton unveiled the course for the America's Cup match, which will be a best of 13 series between Team New Zealand and the winner of the Prada Cup challenger series.
The America's Cup match will take place from March 6-21. Racing is expected to start between 4pm and 6pm NZ time.
Racing will take place across the wider Hauraki Gulf, running south along the North Shore beaches around North Head encompassing the inner Waitemata harbour right up to the harbour bridge and downtown Auckland, across the city's eastern suburbs and out the Tamaki Strait between Waiheke Island and Maraetai.
The designated areas in the Hauraki Gulf and Waitemata Harbour should offer a wide range of race course options, with a full range of wind directions and conditions.
"There is a reason that Auckland is world renowned as 'The City of Sails' and for its sailing conditions," Dalton told Americascup.com. "We're very fortunate that the geography of Auckland allows us so many exciting and challenging race course options in close proximity to elevated vantage points for spectators on land."
"We needed to define a wide racing area to cater for all wind and tide directions and conditions, which we have done across the racing area. But the one overarching objective in identifying the specific race courses within the race area was to bring the racing as close as possible to the land based spectators, and we are incredibly lucky to have both North Head and Bastion Point where the public will literally be able to hear the AC75s whistling above the water and see the wind shifts on the water without having to set foot on a boat.
"In saying this, catering to the huge expected spectator fleet does provide its own challenges, but we have been working closely with the Harbour Master and all related agencies that have fully bought into the objectives and to do everything we can to make this America's Cup the most inclusive and spectator friendly America's Cup ever."
The British challenger, INEOS Team UK, had an unveiling of their own yesterday, releasing footage of their scaled-down test model of the foiling monohull AC75 vessels that will be sailed in 2021.