Sailing-‘Slap in the face’: Fay quits in protest at America’s Cup move

By Thomson Reuters Aug 19, 2022 | 8:19 PM

(Reuters) – Michael Fay, the businessman who underwrote three bids for the America’s Cup, has quit the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in protest at the 37th defence of the “Auld Mug” being moved to the Spanish city of Barcelona.

RNZYS and Team New Zealand, who retained the America’s Cup last year with victory over Italy’s Luna Rossa, rejected a NZ$100 million ($60 million) bid from the New Zealand government and Auckland Council to keep the 2024 event in home waters.

Fay and two other major players in New Zealand’s rise as an America’s Cup powerhouse over the last four decades, Alan Sefton and Andrew Johns, resigned their longstanding memberships of RNZYS in a letter to the commodore, Radio New Zealand reported.

“For the best part of 40 years, New Zealand has enjoyed an emotional magic carpet ride with that event as (it) rose to the challenge to completely dominate the oldest and one of the greatest events in world sport …” the letter read.

“Yet, when the country is in position to reap the considerable rewards for those endeavours and achievements, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron sells off the rights to hosting the event.

“That, to us, is a slap in the face for everyone and everything that have gone before.”

The Barcelona regional government estimated in March that holding the America’s Cup in the Mediterranean city would have an economic impact of around $900 million to $1 billion.

($1 = 1.6207 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by William Mallard)