Following the completion of all entry formalities, the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) has this week accepted a challenge from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS). Emirates Team New Zealand therefore becomes the fourth challenger for the 32nd America’s Cup, lining-up beside the American BMW Oracle Racing, the Italian Puitrentanove and the South African Team Shosholoza in the quest for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to sail the Defender Alinghi for the America’s Cup in 2007.
Emirates Team New Zealand is now shipping one of its yachts, NZL-82, to Europe and will be seen racing in the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act in September. Emirates Team New Zealand is an evolution of the team that was defeated by Team Alinghi in the 31st America’s Cup, in 2003. Up until that defeat Team New Zealand had completely dominated the America’s Cup world since it first won the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup in San Diego in 1995. At some stage during the match racing element of the first Act the Kiwi crew will sail against Alinghi’s SUI-64, the first of many rematches that will take place between these two great teams in the lead up to 2007.
Grant Dalton, the managing director of the syndicate since last year’s defeat, commands a huge amount of respect for his offshore sailing achievements and project management skills.
“Twelve months ago we set out to bring together the best sailing skills and the best design team, back them with the best support available and create a team that can win the America’s Cup again,” Dalton said from New Zealand. “We aimed to broaden the team’s skill and experience base and encourage the innovation and flair for which this team is renowned.”
Notable additions to the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team include Briton Ben Ainslie (two-time ISAF World Sailor of the Year and Olympic Gold and Silver medallist) and American-born Terry Hutchinson (AmericaOne 2000, Stars & Stripes 2002), Rod Davis (10th America’s Cup campaign, Olympic Gold and Silver medallist) and Kevin Hall (AmericaOne 2000 and OneWorld Challenge 2002).
Another Briton, Andy Claughton, who has been involved with New Zealand America’s Cup efforts since 1987, has become the design team coordinator. He is joined by the young Spanish designer Marcelino Botin, Team New Zealand veterans Clay Oliver and the legendary Tom Schnackenberg, whose personal history of design innovation at the America’s Cup dates back to 1977.
Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, is the title sponsor of the team. Emirates Team New Zealand is also supported by Toyota and the Government of New Zealand.
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