29 Sep 2017

Team NZ confirms March 2021 America's Cup defence

3:48 pm on 29 September 2017

Team New Zealand has confirmed it will defend the America's Cup in Auckland in March 2021 using high-performance monohull boats.

It's Wellington's turn to welcome the America's Cup today, with a parade through the central city. Peter Burling holds the cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling with the Auld Mug in a tickertape parade in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

It comes after negotiations with the Italian Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa, on agreed preliminary protocols surrounding the 36th America's Cup regatta.

Unlike this year's regatta in Bermuda, the defender, Team New Zealand, will not take part in the challenger series.

The 75-foot monohulls would need to be laminated in the country of origin and 20 percent of the sailors would be required to be citizens of the competing country.

The details released today do not indicate whether foils would be used nor exactly where the races would be staged.

Grant Dalton speaking to crowds at the parade held in Auckland, 6 July 2017.

Grant Dalton Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton said further details about the vessels would be released in November.

Dalton said the date was yet to be confirmed and they had not signed a host city agreement as Auckland still had no infrastructure for the America's Cup base and they needed to start construction by the middle of 2018 for a 2021 regatta.

"The intention is to hold the Cup in 2021," said Dalton.

"At this stage no infrastructure exists to hold it by that date.

"We (New Zealand) have just come out of an election but there has been some planning going on. Infrastructure needs to be started by mid-2018."

Dalton added that if Auckland was unable to complete preparations in time, the regatta would be moved to Italy, but it was not a warning shot to the government.

"We need to give certainties to teams," he said.

The regatta will have a series of preliminary races to be held internationally in 2019 and 2020, concluding with the traditional challenger and defender series in Auckland in 2021.

Dalton, who had already signalled his desire for a nationality clause, said each crew of 10-12 sailors must be contain at least 20 percent from the challenging country.

The rest of the team must have established residency criteria, which Dalton said was determined by being resident in the country for 380 days between Sept. 1 2018 and Sept. 1 2020.

"The most significant America's Cup in my time was when Australia 2 beat Liberty in Newport, Rhode Island in 1983," Dalton added. "It was country versus country.

"Countries need to be encouraged to grow their own talent. It's not an attempt to stop yachtsmen make a living but for a country to look at its own first before they go overseas."

The specifications for the new boats would be released on Nov. 30.

Dalton added that each syndicate could build two boats and there would be pre-regattas in 2019 and 2020. Contrary to what he told Italian media two weeks ago, he said there was still the possibility for 'cyclors' to be used.

TNZ used 'cyclors', grinders who sat on upright bike stations and used their legs rather than arms to generate the hydraulic power needed to sail the foiling catamarans, in their successful challenge.

Last week he was quoted as telling La Stampa that "grinders will return", indicating the cyclors would not feature, but said on Friday the rules did not preclude them.

Races for the next regatta were likely to be "longer than Bermuda", which were typically about 20 minutes, but Dalton said they would be less than an hour.

-RNZ/Reuters