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America's Cup defenders vow to fight for dumped courses

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - America’s Cup defenders Team New Zealand have vowed to “move heaven and earth” to have two courses closest to Auckland’s beaches reinstated for next year’s regatta.

An independent arbitration panel ruled this week that two of the five planned courses could not be used as they were not available for the entirety of the regatta, which runs from January-March.

The courses are in the Rangitoto Channel closest to Auckland’s inner city waterfront and along the North Shore’s eastern beaches, allowing land-based spectators to watch the AC75 foiling monohulls compete.

“We as the defender would absolutely move heaven and earth to change this,” Team New Zealand Chief Executive Grant Dalton told New Zealand radio station Newstalk ZB on Friday.

“It’s a tragedy at the moment that the Challenger of Record through Luna Rossa has been able to destroy the ability for the public to watch from the vantage point.

“This has always been our vision to have this and to showcase Auckland and New Zealand to the world on TV.

“So this organisation will move heaven and earth and already is talking to the council, ports of Auckland, the harbour master to see if we can change this.”

Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, who are the Challengers of Record, brought the case to the arbitration panel but was also supported by the two other challengers INEOS Team UK and American Magic.

Auckland’s harbour master had restricted the use of the two courses, except for during the final of the Challenger series in mid-February and for the America’s Cup match in March.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Stephen Coates

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