A leaked email has revealed a last-ditch effort was made to try and raise the money required to host the next America's Cup in Auckland, despite an admittedly low chance of success.
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) commodore Aaron Young sent an email to the squadron's members this week that contained an update on efforts being made to keep the event on New Zealand shores.
Last month, Team New Zealand (TNZ) CEO Grant Dalton told a gathering of more than 400 squadron members that it was extremely unlikely that a funding agreement with the Government would be reached, after more than three months of negotiations had failed.
Now, after another month of attempts to raise at least $80m to add to a reported offer worth around $100 million from the Government and Auckland Council, Young says the campaign has failed to progress its cause.
"I have been working tirelessly for the last month with numerous people and meetings to look at every possible opportunity to raise the funds needed. We have had many worthwhile meetings, some positive outcomes and some no's. I can honestly say we have tried and continue to do so, but as of now we aren't there," Young wrote in the email.
He says, now, that negotiations are set to begin with offshore venues ahead of a deadline of September 17, 2021.
"Time isn't on our side... There is genuine interest internationally to support our team and host the AC37 event. As we stated at the update - the RNZYS needs our team to represent the RNZYS by conducting a successful defence and event so nothing has changed there. We continue to work closely with TNZ towards this common goal."
Team New Zealand was formed for the RNZYS's pursuit of the America's Cup in 1993 and so both parties are inextricably linked as far as the next event is concerned.
The RNZYS's final effort to keep the America's Cup in New Zealand now seems to be via fundraising directly from its members, even though the email denies such a thing.
"I have heard a few people say - 'surely we can raise the money'; 'it's only $1m from 100 members'; 'there must be a way; 'if everyone put in $1000 then we got a bit more from someone…' amongst other comments," the update begins, before an attempt to make readers feel less guilty follows at its conclusion.
"This isn't a request for funding from our members, but is to communicate where we are at. That being said, if you do have a genuine interest and desire to be one of those unique 100 members mentioned above, then yesterday was the time to call us!
"We don't want any of our members to look back and say we could have, would have or should have. Personally I know that I have tried very, very hard and if that isn't enough then so be it. All I ask is that you all do the same if you have the same desire."
If the money fails to be raised to support a local defence, then a string of foreign cities and countries are reported to be waiting in line to take Auckland's place.
The Irish Examiner reported in June that Cork, the Isle of Wight, China, Saudi Arabia, Valencia and Dubai have all been tipped as possible locations.
However, Dalton told the Herald in June that a final decision will most likely not be made until bang on the final deadline.
"The last time... honestly I think it was 45 minutes before we were about to sign, to agree to go somewhere else, the deal was done to stay here.
"This is not us taking the Cup away yet."