It’s back to the future for Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Josh Junior, and Andy Maloney as they return to the scene of their first America’s Cup success.
Fresh off their defence of the Auld Mug at Auckland 2021, the talented quartet head to Bermuda this month for the start of the second season of SailGP, a global series contested in the modified 50-foot foiling catamarans used at the America’s Cup there in 2017.
Comparisons are going to be inevitable on the back of the giant step the latest America’s Cup took with the revolutionary 75-foot foiling monohulls.
Both classes exceed 50 knots in top speed but the challenge for the cats will be to hold their own in the eye of a public who was fascinated by the intense action in Auckland.
The big names are all there with Sir Ben Ainslie (GB), Jimmy Spithill (US) heading their teams along with the likes of Nathan Outteridge (Japan) and Tom Slingsby (Australia).
The New Zealand SailGP team, brought into the fold by Kiwi great Sir Russell Coutts who oversees the series, won’t have the benefit of the cyclers that were central to their Cup success in Bermuda four years ago with a strict one-design class rule hanging over the supplied catamarans that feature crews of five sailors.
Grinders Marcus Hansen and Louis Sinclair, who were also part of Team New Zealand’s success, are in the SailGP squad which has taken on the gender equality issue with Liv Mackay and Erica Dawson brought into the wider group to gain crucial foiling experience.
“We believe a constant high-performance environment gives our team members incredible development opportunities and keeps them at the top of their game,” Tuke said.
It’s a perfect setting for the core of the Team New Zealand crew to stay busy in the heart of the foiling game - and conveniently at someone else’s expense.