Revealed: New Challenger of Record on standby as Team NZ close in on victory

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Mar 2021, 3:17PM
(Photo / Getty)
(Photo / Getty)

Revealed: New Challenger of Record on standby as Team NZ close in on victory

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Mar 2021, 3:17PM

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The Royal Yacht Squadron could be confirmed as the next Challenger of Record (COR) as early as this evening, if Team New Zealand successfully retain the America's Cup on Tuesday.

With the match score at 5-3, the Defender needs two more wins to retain the Auld Mug.

If that happens on Tuesday, the Herald understands that the Royal Yacht Squadron from the United Kingdom will be rubber stamped as the COR for the 37th America's Cup.

Royal Yacht Squadron commodore James Sheldon is currently in Auckland, with his associates, on standby in case of a New Zealand victory.

The process of agreeing terms with the next COR is remarkably swift - as the deed of gift allows for any other yacht club to put in a challenge, that must be accepted should it be considered "legitimate" - and it will be no different in this case.

It's understood that if Team New Zealand win the opening race today – to leave them on match point – then the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron commodore Aaron Young will leave his position on the water and head back to shore.

If the defender then manages a second victory, both commodores will meet in an undisclosed room inside the Yacht Squadron headquarters at Westhaven Marina to sign the relevant documents.

It would mean that Ben Ainslie's Ineos Team UK would be in line to represent COR in the next Cup.

There has been speculation around the docks for months about the likelihood of the British becoming the Challenger's representative.

Ineos Team UK have consistently denied the rumours, though Ainslie admitted he has a close relationship with Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton, since his stint with the New Zealand syndicate for the 2007 America's Cup.

The British are also the logical partners for the next Cup, given how the association between Team New Zealand and existing COR Luna Rossa has steadily deteriorated over the last year.

Even though their combined efforts produced a successful design class and innovative boat with the AC75s, it's impossible to imagine them working together for the next Cup, given the clashes that have played out publicly and privately between the two syndicates.

The New York Yacht Club is also not a realistic option. That's partly because they have previously advocated returning to traditional (non-foiling) monohulls for the Cup and also because the backers of American Magic are yet to decide if they will launch another challenge.