Former Team New Zealand grinder Tony Rae has said despite overseas speculations and money-talk, the 2021 America's Cup 'just has to happen in Auckland.'
Although Team New Zealand claimed victory over Oracle Team USA earlier this year in Bermuda, reports about whether the event would remain planned for Auckland has caused concern.
Speculation spread after Team New Zealand and the Government had discussed the multi-million dollar hosting fee and the US$80 million offer from the Middle East, which sought to take the regatta away from Auckland.
However, Rae told Radio Sport that 'selling the Cup would be the last thing Grant Dalton wants' and the country had no need for concern.
"As far as sell the event to another country that is definately not happening, I mean if you were in these other countries surely you'd love to try and have the Cup there and I think it's probably the other way around, they're trying to get it over there, it's not us trying to sell it."
In light of the last few weeks of negotiation and protestations about were and how Auckland would host the 2021 event along with its estimated $200 million expense, Rae urged for a gentle reminder to people about how much it would do for the country.
"It's such an amazing event and it just seems to get so flared up with all who's paying for what and where's the money coming from, were it's going and so forth," he said.
"The thought of not having it here in New Zealand after trying so so hard for so many years to get it here and how much effort has gone into actually winning this thing and to be able to defend it in our own country is just huge and I think people just need to remember that."
Rae, who sailed the Volvo Ocean Race six times, said it's unbelievable that we as a small country can win these trophies and that we need to embrace the opportunity to defend it on home turf.
"I think that people have to just forget about how it's going to happen and just get on with it ... someone has to pay for it ... I think if Sir Peter Blake were still around the thought of having this Cup after winning it and not defending it in New Zealand, would be absurd to him."