In a surprise move, Team New Zealand have signed the Australian helm Nathan Outteridge for the next America’s Cup . . . AC37.
The New Zealand news media ‘Stuff’ reported that the America’s Cup holders made the move following the statement issued by Pete Burling and Blair Tuke earlier in October that they had not yet signed for Emirates Team New Zealand.
Rumours abound that Burling and Tuke are to sign with the new Alinghi team of Switzerland’s Ernesto Bertarelli, who is expected to Challenge for the 37th America’s Cup, likely to take place in 2024 at a venue to be announced.
However, the strict AC37 nationality rules being introduced by Team New Zealand for AC37 could make that difficult for the Kiwi pair.
Aussie Outteridge qualifies for Team New Zealand under the new nationality rules. The 35-year-old’s wife Emma is the daughter of long-time Team New Zealand manager Ross Blackman and have an Auckland house.
Outteridge joins an already highly talented team – including Glenn Ashby, Josh Junior and Andy Maloney – that boss Grant Dalton has assembled in readiness for the next America’s Cup defence.
If Burling and Tuke do re-sign with Team New Zealand there could be a clash of talent at the top, although 2024 is looking a crowded year with the Paris Games taking place and the enlarged SailGP Series, all envolving Burling, Tuke and Outteridge.
Although they have yet to sign with Team New Zealand, Burling and Tuke are reported to have welcomed Outteridge’s surprise signing.
“Nathan is a great sailor, we’ve sailed with him throughout our careers, and he’s a positive addition to the team,” they said in a joint statement to Stuff.
Outteridge was in the commentary box for the last America’s Cup, but went up against Burling and Tuke on ETNZ in Bermuda at AC35 when he helmed for Artemis Racing.
Outteridge now sails on the SailGP circuit for a mixed Japanese crew, where he is in third place as they head to Australia and America for the two final events of the 2021/22 season.
Burling helming for the NZSailGP team is in fifth place.
The AC37 Protocol and venue are to announced on November 17.