Back to future for Team NZ?

Peter Burling lifts the America's Cup after Team New Zealand's win in Bermuda. Photo: ACEA 2017
Peter Burling lifts the America's Cup after Team New Zealand's win in Bermuda. Photo: ACEA 2017
Emirates Team New Zealand could go back to the future for the 36th America's Cup in 2021.

The 2000 defence of the Auld Mug by the Sir Peter Blake and Sir Russell Coutts-led syndicate looks set to be a blueprint for September's official protocol announcement.

Auckland in summer is the favoured venue and season, which should help potential challengers plan.

America's Cup expert Peter Lester told Newstalk ZB it was important last week's announcement set a timeline.

"Last time [defender] Oracle took a year to come out with the protocol, which creates uncertainty among the challengers. New Zealand were badly affected by that.

"A lot of what I'm hearing in terms of the protocol could be similar, and I use that word carefully, to 2000 when nationality and country-of-origin for the build were corner stones.

"That probably doesn't mean the whole construction process. At that time the canoe body of the boat - or inside laminate - had to be completed in the country of origin and the fit-out could be done anywhere. I don't think it'd be every single component."

Team New Zealand's initial statement on their plans said: "In recognition of the fundamental condition of the Deed of Gift that the Cup be preserved as a perpetual Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries, the Protocol will contain a 'constructed in country' requirement for competing yachts and a nationality requirement for competing crew members."

Lester said ETNZ and challenger-of-record Luna Rossa could create some "one-design" components to benefit local manufacturers, provided they delivered quality at competitive prices.

"[ETNZ] do have a responsibility to New Zealand and the marine industry, but their prime responsibility is winning the America's Cup and defending it. Notwithstanding that, Team New Zealand have been a good ambassador for the country's performance marine industry."

Lester didn't believe the proposed new protocols would deter challengers. He said the most enticing factor would be an "evening the playing field".

"One thing [ETNZ syndicate head] Grant Dalton came out with was bringing back integrity, with rules that are set and won't change. I expect them to remove [the rule of] the defender sailing in the challenger series [unlike 2017]."

Add a Comment