Team NZ boss Grant Dalton has responded to rumours surrounding where the next America’s Cup will be held.
As first reported by the Herald on Tuesday, the British Royal Yacht Squadron – who are represented by Ineos Team UK and have Sir Ben Ainslie as their skipper – have been confirmed as the next Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup.
But the challenge is said to be held as a radical one-off Cup defence between Team NZ and the Brits, excluding other challengers, on the Isle of Wight next year.
Speaking to TVNZ, Dalton confirmed it was on the cards.
“Certainly the Isle of Wight is an option,” Dalton said. “We want to come back, but we also have to think of the team and ultimately my responsibility is primarily to the welfare and the strength and the ability to defend the Cup.”
Response to the off-shore challenge hasn’t been all good, with the likes of Luna Rossa co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill saying he would be “shocked” if the Auld Mug wasn’t defended in New Zealand again.
“I mean, you look at the amount of time and money that the average taxpayer and Kiwi has put into this team, I would have thought it would be an absolute no-brainer to hold the America’s Cup here,” Spithill said.
America’s Cup Minister Stuart Nash also said it would be “hugely disappointing” if the next Cup competition moves offshore.
Meanwhile, a number of other rules changes were put in place this week for the next Cup cycle.
Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) Aaron Young confirmed that strict new nationality rules would require 100 per cent of crews to be citizens or have spent two of the previous three years in the country they represent.
Dalton backed the decision.
“It is quite cool and to take it effectively right back to where it came in 1851, I think is good for the event,” he said.
“We believe as an organisation that it’s part of the Cup, we think that if the All Blacks for example were the Barbarians it wouldn’t be quite so popular in the World Cup.”
The AC75 class shall remain the class of yacht for the next two America’s Cup cycles, and teams will be restricted to building only one new AC75 for the next event, while the defender and the Challenger of Record will be investigating and agreeing to campaign cost-reduction measures – including measures to attract a higher number of challengers and to assist with the establishment of new teams.
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