16 Sep 2008

Mini America's Cup for Auckland

8:05 am on 16 September 2008

Some of the big names from sailing's America's Cup could be in Auckland this summer for a mini regatta planned by the challenger Team New Zealand on the Waitemata Harbour.

The team, along with long-time America's cup sponsor Louis Vuitton, will run the event in the first two weeks of February.

Six challengers will use Team New Zealand's two boats in a contest to decide which one will take on the host.

With court action in New York keeping the real America's Cup in limbo, perhaps until next year, Team New Zealand's managing director, Grant Dalton, says the series will be important in keeping his team together and in top form.

Mr Dalton says all of last year's America's Cup teams are invited, and the first six to put up their hands will get a place in the regatta.

Auckland Mayor John Banks says he will try to persuade the Swiss defender Alinghi to take part in the event.