My colleague Grandhi and I had a great first day (Sunday) in Auckland (click for map). It was sunny and breezy, apparently uncharacteristically nice for this time of year.
We first walked around the clean and compact downtown area including the Viaduct Basin in the Americas Cup Village. The Emirates Team New Zealand Americas Cup team headquarters is here now; their big black building overlooks the basin. Lots of incredible boats here, although I didn't see any Americas Cup boats.
We then had lunch at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. This is a lovely building with a friendly staff. We watched a bunch of sail fleets race by as we ate in the members bar. I added to my burgee collection while we were there. RNZYS hosted the last Americas Cup and is the sponsoring yacht club for the Team New Zealand boats.
The highlight of my day was a two hour sail with SailNZ aboard an Americas Cup boat. The boat was formerly JPN 41, the Nippon Challenge boat that raced in San Diego in 1995. (SailNZ also has NZ40, the New Zealand boat from San Diego.) We had 15-16 knots of wind with calm seas, so we were flying, holding around 8.5 knots per hour throughout the ride. Everyone got a chance to grind and drive. It was Grandhi's first time sailing; I think he loved it. I certainly did.