Ki­wis need to lock up Burl­ing

Sunday Star-Times - - SPORT - Rus­sell Coutts

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.

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