Thursday, October 28, 2021

America’s Cup: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke yet to commit to Team New Zealand

The old firm of Blair Tuke and Peter Burling get their hands on the America's Cup once again.

RICKY WILSON/Stuff

The old firm of Blair Tuke and Peter Burling get their hands on the America’s Cup once again.

Team New Zealand stars Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are yet to sign on for the defence of the America’s Cup.

Burling and Tuke arrived home from a lengthy stint in Asia and Europe on Wednesday and confirmed to Stuff their Cup future was still to be determined.

This came as there was speculation of them linking with a rival syndicate. One source, who claimed to have knowledge of the situation, raised the possibility of another raid by Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli who is tipped to return to the Cup scene after winning it in 2003 and 2007 with key Team New Zealand talent.

TODD NIALL/STUFF

Team NZ COO Kevin Shoebridge was relieved as Te Rehutai crossed the line to retain the America’s Cup for New Zealand. (Video first published March 2021)

Burling, skipper for the successful defence of the Auld Mug in Auckland this year, and Tuke, flight controller for Team New Zealand, said they had not signed with another team and were seeking clarity over the next America’s Cup before making commitments.

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“It’s been a busy year. Since AC36 we’ve been overseas dedicated to representing New Zealand at the Olympic Games and a big European leg with the NZL SailGP Team, as well as continuing our work with Live Ocean,” the pair said in a statement to Stuff.

“We’re supportive of Team New Zealand management’s efforts to ensure a successful defence of the America’s Cup and respect the complexities the next event will bring in a post-Covid world.

“As you can appreciate, we’d like clarity on the fundamentals of the event before we commit. We’re in regular conversation with the team as the process is worked through.”

The next America’s Cup remains in limbo with Team New Zealand delaying a hosting decision as they weigh up offshore offers against a backdrop of struggles to host the event again in Auckland.

The decision was meant to be made on September 17 with options in Ireland, Spain and Saudi Arabia. Team New Zealand want more time to consider.

Burling, 30, and Tuke, 32, are in the prime of their careers as double America’s Cup winners with Team New Zealand in Bermuda and Auckland, and triple Olympic medalists in the 49er class at the last three Games.

They have been involved with Sir Russell Coutts’ SailGP global league this year and contested regattas in Bermuda and Europe as they oversee New Zealand’s first entry in this championship.

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won a silver medal in gritty fashion in Japan.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won a silver medal in gritty fashion in Japan.

The next crucial date for the America’s Cup will be the release of the protocol on November 17 which is set to include strict nationality rules.

That would make it hard for any sailors in teams established from the last America’s Cup to switch allegiances, though allowances are expected to be made for “emerging teams”.

That could still leave key team New Zealand staff open to rival offers.

The small America’s Cup fleet has an abundance of talent, especially in the absence of an Australian challenge.

Tom Slingsby currently leads the SailGP championship with fellow Australian Nathan Outteridge third, skippering a Japanese entry.

Neither of them featured at Auckland 2021 but have increased their claims with consistent efforts in the foiling catamaran league. Slingsby completely dominated this year’s world Moth championships, in the solo foiling class, in Italy.

This article first show on www.stuff.co.nz Source link Author DUNCAN JOHNSTONE on date 2021-10-13 08:34:00

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