Now that America's Cup is over, what happens to the boats?

This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.
Te Rehutai, Team New Zealand's second generation AC75 yacht that sailed to America's Cup victory on the Waitemat Harbour, will hold a special place in sailing history - but her future is uncertain.

Team New Zealand with the Challenger of Record for the 36th America's Cup, Italy's Luna Rossa, set the rules for the design of the AC75. The new class of boat, a foiling monohull that could reach speeds of around 50 knots (93 kmh), was a challenge for champion sailors.

After lifting the America's Cup with a 7-3 series win over the Italians, Team New Zealand admitted it was a rapid learning process during the regatta to figure out how best the handle the boat, that a team of 35 designers led by Dan Bernasconi had been working on getting right for three and a half years.


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But what would become of the 75-foot yacht the team called a rocketship, now she had done her job?

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said Te Rehutai should be made available for everyone to see, and hoped it had not been used for the last time.

I'd love to see it sailed again. It's an incredible boat. We've really loved sailing it but in saying that a couple of the other America's Cup's boats (from previous campaigns) are on display around the Viaduct ... and its pretty special to see those boats including the boat we raced in Bermuda on the wall of the base at the moment.

NZL32, or Black Magic as it was known, won the 1995 America's Cup when it beat Young America off San Diego and is now housed at the National Maritime Museum in Auckland.

We had NZL60 out the front of our base for the past six months so its been pretty cool to have those historic moments of America's Cup sailing for New Zealand on display, Burling said.

Ricky Wilson/Stuff
Team UK's Britannia.

NZL60 carried Team New Zealand to victory in Auckland at the 2000 America's Cup, which was the first in the history of the Auld Mug not to feature an American challenger or defender.

NZL82 was used in Team New Zealand's 2003 America's Cup defence but was unreliable, losing 5-nil to Swiss syndicate Alinghi skippered by former Team New Zealand skipper Sir Russell Coutts.

The most controversial of its design innovations was the so-called HULA or Hulla Appendage a flat appendage attached to the after body of the hull designed to increase waterline length and therefore speed without increasing the overall length of the boat.

The vessel was subsequently sold and used commercially in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where the public could race it on the Gulf of California.

David Hallett/Getty Images
Team New Zealands NZL60 and Prada in action during race one of the 2000 America's Cup.

NZL14 was moored in Queenstown Bay in Lake Wakatipu and costing ratepayers thousands of dollars in storage and legal fees last year as the Queenstown-Lakes District Council considered it abandoned under the Marine Transport Act.

The boat, with a 35-metre carbon fibre mast, was used by a Coutts-led Team New Zealand as a trial yacht in the 1992 America's Cup challenge and was bought by Auckland millionaire Geoff Hunt in 2010.

KZ7, dubbed the Plastic Fantastic' was the first New Zealand yacht to race in the America's Cup in 1987 in Freemantle, Australia.

It eventually lost the Challenger series to Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes syndicate.

After the America's Cup KZ7 was chartered by a number of sailors, including Bill Koch (Skipper of America 3 1992 America's Cup winner) and Patrizio Bertelli, the Luna Rossa syndicate head.

Tony Feder/Getty Images
The Australia Kookaburra III in action against Stars and Stripes of the USA during the America's Cup in Fremantle, 1987 Perth, Australia.

It was subsequently donated to the US Merchant Marine Academy's Sailing Foundation for the offshore sailing programme and later sold to a private owner in Denmark in 2016.

Elsewhere in the world, mothballed America's Cup yachts from other countries are in museums or being used for charters.

Yacht designer and former technical director and lead designer for an America's Cup team, Brett Bakewell-White, was realistic about what would happen next with the latest boats.

I would think that in a couple of years these boats are likely to be sitting in a paddock somewhere half full of rain water.

Bakewell-White said teams that had competed in the America's Cup in Auckland would keep hold of their boats if only for spare parts.

Any other continued use of Team UK's Britannia, American Magic's Patriot, Italy's ITA-94 Luna Rossa as well as Te Rehutai would come with a caveat.

Under the current rules the teams are not allowed to sail two boats at the same time, but I would think that the current boats would be used for testing new ideas before starting their new boats as well as crew training, Bakewell-White said.

Passing on the boat to another fledgling team from a different country to give more yacht clubs a foothold in the new class would be problematic.

They would be useful for a start up team to learn how to sail them, but they would not be allowed to race the boat in an event. Maybe they will change the rules?, Bakewell-White said.

The Constructed in Country rule is a central part of the Deed of Gift, the 19th century document which governs the conduct of the America's Cup.

It was the interpretation of this rule, that states how much of a boat must be made in the country that the Challenge comes from, that played a part in Long Beach Yacht Club's Stars and Stripes not making it to Auckland.

The American team had appealed to the America's Cup Arbitration Panel in the hopes of being able to use another Challenger's cast-off first generation AC75 to make the start line of the lead-up events to the 36th America's Cup.

This was shut down by the panel and Stars and Stripes weren't to be heard from again.

While Team New Zealand and the yet to be officially confirmed Challenger of Record for the next America's Cup have not announced which class of boat will be used for the regatta, it is widely expected that the 37th America's Cup will see a continuation of foiling monohulls.

This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.


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