Kiwis need to lock up Burling
Continued from pB1 with German magazine Yacht, brushed off comparisons between himself and Burling.
‘‘Oh man, I would feel honoured if that were the case! Peter Burling is certainly an incredible talent,’’ Coutts said.
‘‘He has now also proved this under pressure. We all wondered if he could prove his class at the America’s Cup. And let’s be honest: he has surpassed Jimmy Spithill this time.
‘‘He is simply an incredible talent and it looks as though he has mastered the technical side of the sport.
‘‘He can jump into a moth and become world champion. He can jump into a 49 and win gold. He can clearly jump into everything and win. This is the quality of a real champion in the style of Paul Elvstro¨m or people of his calibre. The guy is so talented that he could probably sail in different positions and always be outstanding. He is certainly the future star of our sport.’’
Team New Zealand will certainly have to up the ante to keep Burling who they signed as a rookie in late 2013.
Team New Zealand wages have remained a closely-guarded secret over the years but chief executive Grant Dalton has already admitted ‘‘everybody is on reduced salaries’’ in the current Cup cycle after all This is the quality of a real champion. the financial uncertainties of getting to the start line in Bermuda following the fallout from the gutting loss four years ago.
An unspecified multi-million dollar payout from America’s Cup bosses over the loss of a buildup regatta in New Zealand has belatedly helped fill the coffers while a win in Bermuda and a return to Auckland would certainly help Dalton’s never-ending drive for sponsorship.
But in a ruthless game, the wolves will be circling. The Kiwi design team who have shown incredible innovation, will be vulnerable along with the sailing crew.
Returning the Cup down under is expected to bring Australia back into the frame and that will place pressure and temptations on Team New Zealand’s outstanding Aussie skipper Glenn Ashby.
An Australian syndicate and the prospect of increased nationality rules,could strip Oracle of the bulk of their team.
Team New Zealand’s cleanout from San Francisco has produced a fresh-faced crew of fearless young talent they will want to retain.
Burling, who sailed a one-off America’s Cup world series regatta for Korea in late 2012, remains part of Yachting New Zealand’s highperformance team with an eye on his fourth Olympics at Tokyo 2020. He has a silver medal from London and a gold from Rio.
Regular sailing partner Blair Tuke and Josh Junior are others in the Kiwi crew still in the mix for Tokyo.
Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling, left, gets a hug from Grant Dalton.