With a little over a week to go before Luna Rossa and Ineos Team UK battle it out in the Prada Cup final, Cheree Kinnear gets an exclusive look behind the scenes at the Italians' base.
A short walk from the hustle and bustle of the Auckland Viaduct, a boom gate guards the secrets of Luna Rossa's America's Cup campaign.
It's not an easy place to get into - and it's not hard to understand why.
How the Italians develop and improve their boat between now and the Prada Cup final against Ineos Team UK could be crucial to their America's Cup campaign, and, with "spies" always lurking, it makes sense that the veil of secrecy remains tightly drawn.
A discreet nod from security and I'm on to the team's dock for a tour with the Italian outfit's trimmer, Pierluigi de Felice. Skateboards and e-bikes are clearly the preferred choice of transport for crew as they slip in and out of the boatshed through a small door that's never left open.
After a failed attempt to sneak a peek of where the boat was being worked on, we head down a ramp to where the team's fleet of chase boats are lined up instead.
Their main chase boat, equipped with 1800hp, holds diving kits, analysis equipment and anything the team might need for immediate assistance while sailing. It's also where you'll find skipper Max Sirena aboard during racing.
Of the two smaller boats, one holds the sails, while the other is used for daily transport and trips to keep an eye on the competition.
Meanwhile, a sleek-looking vessel down the far end is reserved for hosting special guests like former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
Back on the dock and up some stairs, crew are working on a sail in the "loft".
De Felice explains how it took the team more than four months to have all the required tools relocated to Auckland when they set up base last year.
We're taken back around the front, past a merchandise shop, and through to the main reception. It's a fairly plain room but what goes on down the hallway is what interests me most.
It's here where the team reviews footage, discusses ideas and makes all the big decisions.
As the tour concludes we're taken back through the boom gate before a quick off-camera chat about how the team is progressing.
De Felice expresses excitement for the upcoming final against the British and says he believes the semifinal racing against American Magic could give the Italians an advantage in the battle for a place in the America's Cup match against Team New Zealand.
Only time will tell, however, if the hustle and bustle behind closed doors will pay off. And the clock is ticking.
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride.
• Don't forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America's Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.