Good news for Team New Zealand yachting bid
2013 America's Cup challenge takes shape
The prospects of a Team New Zealand challenge at the next America's Cup has firmed up with two key developments for the yachting syndicate.
Main sponsor Emirates airline announced its continued support, while the crew went sailing off Auckland on an AC45 catamaran.
The next America's Cup is in San Francisco in 2013 and will be sailed in a new class of yacht known as the AC72.
The AC45 is an interim vessel which will be used in the build-up regattas beginning this year.
Syndicate managing director Grant Dalton, who has spent the past six months securing funding for another challenge, said the response had been encouraging.
He said the decision of the airline to stay on board was important as it had been with the team since 2004.
He paid tribute to the many backers who stood by the team in the hard times since the last multi-challenger cup regatta in Valencia in 2007.
Team NZ had paid an initial fee to America's Cup Race Management to secure access to a supplied one-design AC45, Dalton said.
The yacht and wing sail were delivered to the team base over the past week for assembly by sailing and shore crews.
The team would make a further announcement on their involvement in the 2013 America's Cup in a couple of months, Dalton said.
``In the meantime, we are developing the sailing team, the design team is working through concepts for the AC72 catamaran and we are continuing meeting with several potential sponsors.''