More than 6,000 people braved a cold Kiwi evening and headed down to Emirates Team New Zealand’s team base on Viaduct Harbor in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, to meet the team’s first AC72.
Christened New Zealand by skipper Dean Barker’s wife, Mandy, the AC72 received a champagne shower as hundreds of New Zealanders simultaneously pulled rope that sent the bottle smashing down on the hull of ETNZ’s newest boat.
In attendance were New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Auckland Mayor Len Brown. Team director Grant Dalton had nothing but praise for the team’s sponsors, government supporters, and the general public.
“New Zealanders should be proud that their team attracts the support of these major international companies,” Dalton said, referring to the team’s sponsors, which include Dubai-based Emirates Airline, Spanish clothing company CAMPER, and Nespresso, among others.
“The same can be said for the international designers, engineers and analysts who augmented our design team. We are proud of what we have achieved so far, working in a tin shed in Auckland. We carry the New Zealand flag sponsors’ brands proudly and pledge that the mission of every member of this team is to bring the America’s Cup back to New Zealand.”