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Team NZ learn America's Cup schedule

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/10/2016

Team NZ © Getty Team NZ Team New Zealand will race Team France on the first day of next year's month-long America's Cup regatta in Bermuda.

Organisers released a schedule which begins with qualifying races on May 26 and finishes with a best-of-13 America's Cup match involving defenders Team USA which could stretch until June 27.

Team USA is also involved in the first two rounds of round-robin qualifying which comprises five challenging syndicates.

A four-boat round of semi-final racing from June 4, which won't involve Team USA, is followed by a best-of-nine final for the Louis Vuitton Cup.

The America's Cup match starts on June 17.

The other challenging syndicates come from Sweden, Great Britain and Japan.

The opening race of the regatta features Team USA against Team France, with the French outfit doubling up that day against the Kiwis.

All races in the 50-foot America's Cup Class foiling catamarans will take place on Bermuda's Great Sound, with an emphasis on visually spectacular stadium-style contests.

New Zealander Russell Coutts, chief executive of the America's Cup Event Authority, says Bermuda offers the perfect stage for the 35th contest for sport's oldest trophy.

"One thing that is certain is that nobody can predict who will come out on top," Coutts said.

"That uncertainty, especially having seen how all the teams are so closely matched, shows why interest in the America's Cup is growing so quickly worldwide."

Team USA, who won the Cup from Swiss syndicate Alinghi in 2010, came from 8-1 down in the 2013 America's Cup match in San Francisco to beat Team NZ 9-8.

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