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Team NZ sign Olympic class sailing pair

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/11/2016

AC45F racing sailboat of Emirates Team New Zealand crashes into a wave on their way to winning race three and winning the America's Cup World Series sailing event in New York. © Reuters AC45F racing sailboat of Emirates Team New Zealand crashes into a wave on their way to winning race three and winning the America's Cup World Series sailing event in New York. Emerging sailors Josh Junior and Andy Maloney have joined Team New Zealand's campaign to win the America's Cup.

The 26-year-old dinghy specialists performed favourably during a trial period with the syndicate and will boost the depth of sailors at Team NZ's disposal when they challenge for the Auld Mug in Bermuda next year.

Wellingtonian Junior finished seventh in the Finn class at this year's Rio Olympics.

Aucklander Maloney is a proven international Laser class performer but narrowly missed Olympic selection, beaten out by eventual bronze medallist Sam Meech.

Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton says the pair face a steep learning curve to adjust from Olympic class sailing to the high-powered America's Cup catamarans.

However, their enthusiasm and athleticism would be valuable assets, he said.

"Experience remains a crucial ingredient of this America's Cup but these catamarans are also incredibly demanding physically," Dalton said.

"These guys are young and powerful but will have to work hard to learn everything about sailing in the America's Cup.

"They have the raw talent and motivation as well as some pretty valuable experienced guys like (crewmates) Glenn Ashby and Ray Davies to guide them."

The pair join Olympic 49er champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in making the transition for the 35th edition of the America's Cup.

Maloney says the trial period has been an eye-opener.

"We are flying around the Auckland Harbour at more than 30 knots. Going 20 knots seems slow these days, which is pretty unreal coming from a Laser a few months ago," he said.

"It's a dream come true. Sailing for Team New Zealand has always been a huge goal of mine."

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