In case you weren’t aware, a select club of billionaires from around the world—with their superyachts in tow—have descended upon Waitematā Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand to resume one of their favorite activities: watching a bunch of guys race big, fast boats back and forth across an invisible line. It’s a bit like NASCAR for rich people.
These billionaire owners were lucky enough to receive special “essential service worker exemptions” to travel to New Zealand, after being deemed “essential” by the government to spend their millions in the local economy in exchange for the opportunity to forget about social distancing, breathe in the coronavirus-free air, and enjoy watching their million-dollar yachts race each other for an old, shiny trophy known as the Auld Mug. While everyday workers have had to endure drastic change and hardship and have been denied even the most basic relief during the pandemic, billionaires are still fighting to carry on their extremely costly globe-trotting hobbies.
This is all part of a quadrennial sporting event known to most New Zealanders and other sailing fanatics as the America’s Cup; its 36th edition started March 10, after its weekend opening was postponed due to an Alert Level 3 coronavirus lockdown in Auckland.