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Back to the future with the Kiwis

As the Kiwi peloton swept past the USA grinders to take the 35th America's Cup all bets were off for the future format of the next Cup.

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Less than an hour after crossing the finish line 55 seconds ahead of Oracle Team USA to win the America's Cup Match Series 7-1 in Bermuda, Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton confirmed that:

The Italian club Circolo della Vela Sicilia would be the official Challenger of Record for the 36th America's Cup and its representative team will be Luna Rossa Challenge.

Luna Rossa boss Patrizio Bertelli withdrew from the current edition in protest after Oracle made sweeping changes to the format and design rules a year after the original protocol was released under the banner of cost-cutting measures.

Bertelli continued to support the New Zealand team, lending them a prototype test boat, and Luna Rossa personnel have also been key figures in the Team NZ design and sailing support staff, including skipper Max Sirena, who is one of the team's technical advisors.

The 36th edition of the race will almost certainly be held in Auckland, most likely in 2021, and with even the possibility of a return to monohulls of previous years.

But Dalton and Team New Zealand principal Matteo de Nora were reluctant to release further details.

"The future we'll decide with our challenger so we're not going to say much about it right now," de Nora said. "We know that we want to go back to the future, so we have several weeks to concentrate on what we want to do."

Dalton said Team NZ's plan would play out over the next couple of weeks, and confirmed the syndicate was keen to keep the America's Cup regatta affordable.

"But it is the America's Cup and the top of the sport, not a little beach regatta. It's never going to be cheap."

In January five of the six teams competing in the 35th AC signed a framework agreement that would cover the next two editions, the 36th and 37th America’s Cup.

This would have kept the venue, the boats and format similar to the event just completed and run on a two year cycle.

The New Zealanders did not sign and that agreement is now in the shredder and the Kiwis, together with the Italians, will decide the future for the 36th America's Cup.

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Gerald New - Sailweb
27 June 2017 8:01 GMT


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