America's Cup 2021: Team profile - Emirates Team New Zealand

  • 01/01/2021


Principal: Matteo de Nora

General manager: Grant Dalton

Skipper: Glenn Ashby (Australia)

Helmsman: Peter Burling

Key crew members: Blair Tuke (flight controller), Steven Ferguson (grinder), Simon van Velthooven (grinder), Joe Sullivan (grinder), Andy Maloney (sailor), Josh Junior (sailor), Dan Bernasconi (design), Kevin Shoebridge (operations), Ray Davies (coach)

Affiliation: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

Boat: Te Ruhatai

Past record: America's Cup winners 1995, 2000 (defenders), 2017; Louis Vuitton Cup winners 1995, 2007, 2013, 2017

History: The earliest NZ challenge for the 'Auld Mug' dates back to 1987, when Sir Michael Fay and the Mercury Bay Yacht Club contested the challengers' series off Freemantle, West Australia, and then subsequent unsuccessful campaigns at San Diego (1988 & 1992), before Fay bowed out.

In his wake, Sir Peter Blake and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron formed Team New Zealand, which finally lifted the trophy from the San Diego Yacht Club in 1995.

Blake and skipper Russell Coutts successfully defended the America's Cup in 2000, repelling the Italian Prada Challenge, but three years later, after Blake had been murdered by pirates on the Amazon River, Coutts and several of the his former TNZ crewmates helped the Swiss Alinghi team lift the silverware.

Two agonisingly unsuccessful bids to recapture the trophy followed in 2007 and 2013, with TNZ losing to Alinghi and then Oracle Team USA, which had lifted the Cup off the Swiss in a one-on-one challenge in 2010.

The latter was especially galling, since skipper Dean Barker was just one win away from series victory and well ahead in a decisive race that ran over the time limit, then could not win again, as Oracle swept past to retain the spoils.

That bitter taste helped spur the team four years later, with Olympic champion Burling at the helm, as New Zealand snatched the Auld Mug for the second time, using innovative 'cyclors' to power the super-fast catamarans off Bermuda.

They were named Team of the Year at the 2017 Halberg Awards, also taking out supreme honours for New Zealand's outstanding sporting performers of the year, repeating their 1995 double after their first successful challenge.

TAB Odds: $1.37