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It will be a real "tragedy" if Team New Zealand cannot continue, skipper Dean Barker says.
He made the comment this morning at Auckland airport where a large crowd of fans had gathered to welcome the team home.
Barker said the America's Cup would not be the same without Team New Zealand.
"It would be a real tragedy if Team New Zealand wasn't able to continue, it's very much part of the America's Cup, and I don't think an event without us there would be the incredible event," Barker told TVNZ.
"If Team New Zealand is able to continue, and ideally I hope it does, I would love to be a part of it, but it's not my decision."
Sonia Waddell, the wife of Team NZ grinder Rob Waddell, who also arrived home today, said the effect of the loss had been "gut-wrenching".
"Obviously that final result is gut-wrenching and it's still very, very hard and it will take some time to process and find the positives. At the moment it's still very raw," she said.
"We're incredibly proud, I think the whole team, not just the sailors, but the designers and shore crew who have put in incredible hours, we're incredibly proud of what they've achieved for the team and the country."
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has said he was unsure if he had the energy to mount another campaign, and the 9-8 defeat to Oracle placed a huge cloud over the team.
The Government, which funded $36 million of the $120m budget this time, is non-committal about future backing.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told the team the Government would look at a proposal if it was brought forward, and he believed the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment would look on funding positively.
Oracle tactician Sir Ben Ainslie wants a British team to win sailing's premier event, the America's Cup.
The four-time Olympic champion said today he would hold talks in the coming days about the possibility of entering a team from Britain for the next event.
Britain hasn't competed since 1964 and no British team has won in its 162-year history.
Ainslie told BBC radio on Sunday (NZT Monday monring) "we'll talk pretty honestly about whether we think it's realistic to get a campaign together," adding "none of us want to do it unless we’ve got a good shot of winning it".
- © Fairfax NZ News