Emirates Team New Zealand have announced that big-hitters Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, and Glenn Ashby will all return for the 37th America’s Cup alongside a number of other familiar faces
Pete Burling, who has twice helmed Emirates Team New Zealand to victory in the past two America’s Cup’s is confirmed as skipper of theb Kiwi defence of the Cup in the 37th edition of the evet.
Burling will be joined by his long-standing team mate Blair Tuke. The Olympic 49er duo have continued their partnership into the foiling America’s Cup classes with Tuke previously taking in the key role of foil trimmer in the 2017 edition of the America’s Cup in Bermuda and then taking up the same role once again on the new AC75s for their successful defence of the America’s Cup in early 2021.
It’s not yet confirmed what role the new signing of Nathan Outteridge, one of the most in-demand foiling helmsman in the world, will take.
Outteridge is widely respected as one of the top high performance sailors in the world. He is an Olympic Gold Medallist in the 49er and foiling Moth world champion and he helmed for Artemis Racing in the 2013 and 2017 America’s Cups.
In 2018 Outteridge was involved in the development of the F50 class from the AC50s, and helmed the Japanese SailGP entry in 2019. He also helmed the Japanese entry in 2021’s second season of SailGP. Prior to that he was one of the commentators on the 36th America’s Cup.
The other core sailing team members named are Andy Maloney, Josh Junior, and Glenn Ashby. All three of these will be familiar to those who follow the America’s Cup, having been key team members of Emirates Team New Zealand for several cycles of the event.
Maloney and Junior are both top Finn dinghy sailors and have been team mates, training partners, and opponents with both fighting for the single New Zealand Finn spot at the Olympics.
Following a Youth America’s Cup win alongside Burling and Tuke in 2013, Maloney joined Team New Zealand in November 2016. He was one of the now famous ‘cyclors‘, used by New Zealand in the 2017 AC win.
After beating out Andrew Murdoch to qualify, Junior represented New Zealand at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the Finn. He represented his country again at the 2020 Olympics where he was fifth. Having pipped Maloney for Olympic selection his countryman switched to become Junior’s coach during the regatta.
As with Maloney, Junior joined Team New Zealand in 2016 and was a key part of the crew that won the 2017 America’s Cup. Both sailors were also involved in with the team for the successful 2021 America’s Cup Defence.
For his part, Ashby scarcely needs introduction to America’s Cup fans. Having helped AC legend, Jimmy Spithill get to grips with multihull sailing ahead of the 2010 Deed of Gift America’s Cup, he was swiftly picked up by Emirates Team New Zealand ahead of the 2013 America’s Cup and was instrumental in getting the team to foil on their AC72 catamaran.
Ashby stayed with the team for the 2017 edition of the event and is credited with much of the technical innovation (working alongside a hugely talented design team) that saw the team resoundingly beat their competition in Bermuda with easily the fastest AC50.
Ashby’s role was officially skipper, taking some of the pressure off a young Burling and he acted as mainsail trimmer onboard. This is a role he kept on for the successful 2021 defence and he has made a name for himself as one of the most talented and likeable sailors in the world.
While these six will be responsible for the performance of the AC75, and strategic decision making during the 37th America’s Cup races, they will be bolstered by a ‘powerhouse’ team of grinders or, more likely, cyclors, who will provide the much needed power for the AC75 systems.
Emirates Team New Zealand COO Kevin Shoebridge commented: “Clearly we are very happy to have the depth of talent that we have in the sailing team right now. The strength of our core sailing team is clear to see, there isn’t many things in sailing that haven’t been achieved by this group of guys collectively.”
“After the finish of the last America’s Cup we had an extensive and robust review of the winning campaign and how we can become stronger. Ultimately, all aspects of the organisation must improve if we are to be successful again in AC37 and collectively improving our sailing team as a unit is an important aspect of this,” Shoebridge concluded.
Other America’s Cup team announcements
Terry Hutchinson has confirmed that he will return as Skipper and President of Sailing Operations for American Magic, the New York Yacht Club Challenge. Scott Ferguson has also been re-signed as Design Coordinator.
Meanwhile British Laser Olympic Gold Medallist Paul Goodison recently confirmed on Shirley Robertson’s excellent podcast that he will again be part of the American Magic sailing team, but not in which role. Goodison acted as mainsail trimmer in the last Cup and was often also used as a back up helmsman.
“I don’t think I can really say too much,” he told Robertson. “It’s an incredible opportunity for me and something I can’t wait to get my teeth into.”
Meanwhile Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup, INEOS Britannia, are starting to confirm individual crew members. Double Olympic gold medalist in the Finn, Giles Scott, and team skipper, Ben Ainslie’s right-hand man as tactician will return and once again takes the role of tactician and now with a more senior role on the team in general.
Neil Hunter has also been confirmed as a member of the sailing team. Aged just 26, Hunter is already entering his third America’s Cup Campaign.
“I feel so lucky to be part of this team and to hopefully be involved in British history one day would be absolutely incredible. The America’s Cup is addictive, once you get involved you can’t get enough,” he said in a team statement.
Known for the frankly intimidating amount of wattage he can generate whilst grinding, Hunter is preparing for a possible shift to cyclor grinding from arm grinding.
He’s not the only one – social media feeds have been filling up with sailors of many nationalities putting in miles on road bikes, Wattbikes and Zwift in readiness for the team trialling phase of crew selection.
Sailors will be pleased to be out doing something, as there will be no sailing for a while – existing teams aren’t permitted to start sailing in their AC75s until September and October, according to the the rules of the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup.
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Source: Yachting World