On a mission to Barcelona

 In America's Cup, Emirates Team New Zeland, International Events, Major Regattas

This article came from the Breeze Magazine. You can read the full magazine online here.

In late March Vice Commodore Gillian Williams and General Manager Sarah Wiblin headed to Barcelona to put the finishing touches to an exciting suite of travel packages for members wishing to attend the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s 37th America’s Cup defence in October 2024.

“BCD Travel, headed by Peter Barlow and Ross Jameson, has been appointed as RNZYS travel partners for the Cup regatta,” said Wiblin. “They are very experienced operators, with extensive international sporting experience including Rugby and Netball World Cups.

“BCD have offices in Barcelona and English-speaking staff members in place who have extensive relationships on the ground, which will be really advantageous for us as we look to leverage the best experience for our members.

The one-week reconnaissance visit to Barcelona involved Wiblin and Vice Commodore Williams in an intensive round of four to six meetings a day and working dinners every evening, as they visited relevant organisations, including Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (partner yacht club), AC37 Events Ltd, berthage providers, a number of hotels to identify the best ones to be included in the accommodation offer, and inspect potential venues for a gala dinners and other events.

“The visit enabled Gillian and me to have a much better understanding of the unique Squadron experience we are creating here for our members,” said Wiblin. “It is very important to make sure that the packages are right for our members, both in Barcelona and at the RNZYS in Auckland.

“We will launch our BarcelonaTravel Packages to interested members with a presentation at the Squadron on April 27, where details of the offer will be unveiled to those that have pre-registered interest to join the tour group to Barcelona. “

The packages will be based around a core 11-night on ground package, encompassing the first two weekends of the America’s Cup Match (October 9 – 23). This will see members arrive on Thursday, October 10.

They will attend a gala dinner on the Friday night, followed by the opening four races of the Match on Saturday and Sunday, the fifth race on Wednesday 16th and the Women’s America’s Cup final which will also be raced that day, before the next four races the following weekend.

“We also have a number of special events planned, including exclusive member events, local tours and unique experiences for our members.

“A great deal of flexibility is a very important part of the package, so BCD have allowed for many additional options, and a level of flexibility in this offer,” said Wiblin.

Some members may wish to arrive earlier to take in events such as the Challenger Series,Youth and Women’s America’s Cups, a preliminary AC75 regatta with ETNZ included in the line-up, the Challenger Series, the J-Class, 12-Metre Class and superyacht regattas and other events on the summer calendar, which starts with the opening ceremony in Barcelona in late August.

Other members might want to spend time touring in Spain and other parts of Europe and pop in and out of the event and Barcelona during the summer season.

“The core 11-day package in October will enable members to select from a menu of options, which appeal to a variety of activity-types and a variety of budgets,” said Wiblin.

“We also have a number of members who have registered interest in having their boats in Barcelona during the regatta,” she added. “The smallest to date is 14m and the largest is over 100m. A few members plan to buy boats in Europe and then spend some time cruising.

“In fact, 36 Degrees Brokers have two Beneteau’s coming through the factory that will be available in the Mediterranean before the Cup, if anybody is interested in pursuing that option.”

Members who have yachts in Barcelona will have a shore-based package available that doesn’t include accommodation, but enables them to buy into our offer with all other elements included.

Members who remain in Auckland through the Cup regatta will be included in the Barcelona activities, where possible. For example, the gala dinner will include a great line-up of knowledgeable speakers and the 12-hour time difference means the dinner will coincide with a gala breakfast at the Westhaven clubrooms, with the Barcelona proceedings live-streamed. Local speakers will also address the breakfast audience.

“In Auckland, we will also celebrate milestone events leading up to the Cup,” Wiblin added. “These will kick off this year and include events to mark the 12-month countdown to the regatta, along with Barcelona- themed occasions such as a best-of-Barcelona dinner, some delightful Barcelona beverages, wine tastings and so on.

“We are looking to create opportunities for members to celebrate a number of touch-points on the journey towards the Cup leaving on its OE journey to Spain, with a doozy of a party before the Cup leaves us and an even bigger one when it returns.

“The exciting thing about the Cup is creating opportunities for members to bond and create relationships and have unique experiences. It is different and exciting that the event and the America’s Cup is going to Barcelona, but it is still our Cup. We will definitely be doing some fabulous things here at the same time and that’s what will make #teamkiwi and winning the cup again even more special!”

• Please register your interest at rnzys.org.nz/squadron-travel-ac37, and we look forward to seeing you at the launch event on April 27.

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