The first challenger out to take the America's Cup away from Team New Zealand is bound for Auckland.
Sail-World is reporting that the New York Yacht Club entry, American Magic, has packed their boat on a ship and expects to arrive in Auckland in "early June", despite the current restrictions due to Covid-19.
With the cancellation of last month's World Series regatta in Cagliari and June's regatta in Portsmouth, American Magic helmsman Dean Barker recently told NZME he was desperate to set up base in Auckland as soon as possible but knows it could be some time before he can return home.
Construction on their base on Auckland's Wynyard Point has not yet started, Sail-World reports.
However, American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson wrote in sailing magazine Seahorse today that they were shipping their AC75 Defiant to New Zealand, despite not knowing whether non-New Zealand members of their team would be allowed to enter the country.
"By the time this is on your kitchen counter we will have executed on a pivotal decision for our programme. All our gear will have been loaded and will be on its way to New Zealand. It is a nervous time as we have no guarantee at this very moment when non-New Zealand citizens will be allowed into the country.
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"We do know our future is in Auckland and we can only 'hope', a great value but not necessarily a great strategy, that by the time Defiant and the gear land in early June the New Zealand Government has set up a smart, safe process to allow us to execute our planning."
All members of the American Magic team would likely face a 14-day quarantine upon arrival while non-New Zealand residents will need special dispensation to enter the country, much like the New Zealand Warriors players and staff needed before arriving in Australia on Sunday.
According to Sail-World, fellow challengers INEOS Team UK said they were intending to arrive in Auckland in September, and Italian Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in late October.
The cancellation of the first two World Series regattas means syndicates won't have an accurate gauge on how they are tracking until they hit the waters of the Hauraki Gulf, with the final World Series regatta set for Auckland from December 17-20.
The Prada Cup Challenger series is scheduled from January 15 - February 22, with the 36th America's Cup from March 6-15 next year.