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Attention turns to next America's Cup

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017

The details are still sketchy, but Team New Zealand is already planning for the next edition of the America's Cup.

Barely an hour after Peter Burling's Kiwi crew beat Team USA by 55 seconds to win the America's Cup Match Series 7-1 in Bermuda, Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton was fielding questions about the syndicate's defence.

Dalton confirmed Italian syndicate Luna Rossa as the challenger of record.

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

But he 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.

"Naturally not only the team, but the technicians and challengers will be part of the decision."

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."

Team New Zealand would conduct a review of their successful challenge in Bermuda, although it probably wouldn't be as rigorous as that which followed the heart-breaking loss in 2013.

The Kiwis squandered an 8-1 lead four years ago in San Francisco to lose the challenge series 9-8, and Dalton says there were some harsh lessons learnt from the defeat.

"We had a pretty brutal debrief after San Francisco - we came up with 20 points, and that really set up our road map," he said.

"One of those things was we had to invest in technology on a pretty limited budget, and we had to invest in the people that could provide that technology.

"We thought outside the square. We knew we couldn't out-spend them, so we had to out-think them."

Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby, the sole remaining member of that crew, said it was "absolutely unbelievable" to finally win back the Auld Mug.

"A few years ago, it was absolutely brutal for the team," he said.

"It was a hard pill to swallow - for myself and a lot of the other guys with the team this time round, it is a great redemption and a relief to right the wrongs of the last campaign.

"There's that feeling of relief and immense satisfaction that as a fantastic team we've actually been able to pull off almost the unimaginable against all odds."

Dalton, fronting the post-race press conference with Ashby, helmsman Peter Burling and de Nora, covered a wide range of questions from international, but delivered his best one-liner when an ill-timed phone call interrupted proceedings.

He took the opportunity to deliver a dig at America's Cup Event Authority and long-time rival Sir Russell Coutts, glancing down to check his mobile phone mid-sentence.

"That'll be Russell - just tell him I'll call him back."

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