The Press

Team NZ to go with tradition

- CLAY WILSON

It remains to be seen how much but Team New Zealand will strengthen the nationalit­y component of the America’s Cup.

Holders of the Auld Mug following their triumph in Bermuda last month, the Kiwi syndicate revealed the first details of the next regatta alongside official challenger of record Luna Rossa yesterday.

The full protocol will not be unveiled until September but Team New Zealand indicated the 36th America’s Cup will likely take place in Auckland in 2021 and also confirmed two important features.

Not only will the rules, as widely signalled, require more of a national element to each crew, they will ensure more of each boat is built in the country of that team.

‘‘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,’’ Team New Zealand said.

A key element of the America’s Cup for decades, the constructe­d in country rule was close to nonexisten­t for the regatta in Bermuda this year. All that was required was for the exterior surface of a small forward section of each boats bows (less than 20 per cent) to be from the country the team represente­d.

Previous Cup holders Oracle Team USA were one syndicate to take full advantage of this, with a company located in Warkworth, north of Auckland, building most of their boat and its components.

Team New Zealand, who hammered Oracle 7-1 to return the oldest trophy in internatio­nal sport to Kiwi shores, were the only one of the five challenger­s who took part in the 35th Cup not to sign a ‘framework agreement’ for the regatta going forward.

Among many terms, the agreement stipulated the Cup would be moved to a two-yearly cycle for its next two editions (2019 and 2021) and would continue to be raced in foiling catamarans.

Team New Zealand did not provide any hints about what type of boat will be used, although it has been speculated they will go in a more traditiona­l direction, with foiling monohulls one of the classes under considerat­ion.

But the new holders did confirm they would probably retain a four-year gap between regattas and that Auckland was in line to host the Cup for a third time.

‘‘The proposed dates for the event will be further detailed in the Protocol but the Defender and the Challenger of Record are considerin­g the possibilit­y of the 36th America’s Cup Match and the preceding Challenger Selection Series being conducted in Auckland in early 2021 during the New Zealand summer,’’ Team New Zealand said.

It is expected the eventual make-up of nationalit­y requiremen­ts and class of boat will be crucial in determinin­g the number and type of challenger­s to take part in the next regatta.

In the immediate wake of their victory in Bermuda, though, Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton indicated they wanted to make the Cup as interestin­g and fair as possible.

‘‘We need to put in place an exciting event that takes a lot of what has happened here because there’s a lot of good that has happened. To me it is a privilege to hold the America’s Cup, it is not a right. We will put in place rules and an organisati­on that if we’re good enough we’ll hold on to it. If we’re not good enough we won’t try and impose our will on it so we can hold it at all costs.’’

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