Team New Zealand set to tighten America's Cup nationality rules
Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton has given the biggest indication yet that they will tighten the nationality rules for the next America's Cup, while also taking a thinly-veiled swipe at his former skipper Dean Barker.
Of all the changes that are looming to the event following Team NZ's triumph in Bermuda, eligibility of the competitors is set to be one of the hottest topics.
In Bermuda, only one of the six crew were required to be from the team's country of origin, with Kiwi and Australian sailors dominating on board Oracle Team USA and Japan, while Swedish challenger Artemis had an Aussie skipper in Nathan Outteridge.
Following a messy break-up with Dalton after the 2013 America's Cup, Barker was courted by Sir Russell Coutts and Jimmy Spithill to head up the Japanese challenge, Oracle's sister syndicate, which had just three Japanese sailors in the 11-strong sailing team.
Of course, the Kiwis were also skippered by an Australian, Glenn Ashby, but the majority of the team is from New Zealand.
Dalton is keen to impose some restrictions around nationality, although he dismissed reports that as much as 80 per cent of the crew would have to be home grown.
"It's no secret there will be (a higher nationality component) under us," Dalton said.
"It's important that we don't discourage entry through nationality so it has to be tiered. We also don't want to destroy an entire industry of yachtsmen by making it an impossible for them to sail for another country.
"It won't be 80 per cent or anything like that but if you want to be Japanese you're going to have to be Japanese."
Dalton found an unlikely ally in bitter rival Spithill when the Oracle skipper was quizzed on the subject in his final press conference.
"I look at some of the young (American) guys that are coming through our team. There is serious talent there. It's great to see the pathway working." he said.
However, Spithill also felt that it should not come at the exclusion of having the best sailors in sailing's greatest competition.
"You always have to have the best guys involved ... it will then go down to the team that has worked the hardest and wanted it more," he said.
"It doesn't come down to where you are from, your gender ... you want to go up against the best.
"Look at Team New Zealand, another Aussie skipper (Ashby) just won the Cup.
"They are a national team but you have to look at that. Glenn is a key component and he is from another country."