America's Cup 2021: Former Team NZ skipper Dean Barker blasts talk of defending 'Auld Mug' offshore

  • 17/03/2021

Emirates Team NZ cannot defend the America's Cup on foreign waters, insists former skipper Dean Barker.

"The America's Cup can't leave New Zealand with Team NZ taking it away," Barker has told TVNZ. "It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever."

"So 1995, with Peter [Blake], Brad [Butterworth], Russell (Coutts), Murray [Jones] was there.

"The whole intent of that campaign was to bring the America's Cup to New Zealand and they did that successfully, defended it here in 2000.

"We lost it in 2003 and ever since it was about trying to bring it back. The guys did an amazing job in 2017 to bring it back to New Zealand, hopefully they'll go on to defend this time."

In thrilling scenes, the Kiwi team have defended the 'Auld Mug', sailing home to defeat Italians Luna Rossa 7-3 and ensuring that the America's Cup will remain in NZ hands, if not necessarily on NZ soil.

Speculation has now turned to what happens next, with INEOS Team UK already establishing themselves as potential Challengers of Record for the 2025 America's Cup.

"It seems that INEOS are very much in line to be the challenger of record, which didn't seem like it's been a very well kept secret," Barker added.

Auckland must still be favoured to host the next challenge, although there has been suggestion that Team NZ could look to defend the America's Cup somewhere else, depending on where it can secure financial backing for another campaign.

Economic & Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash has already committed to supporting the team towards three consecutive Cup victories.

"The Government has already agreed that the successful America's Cup team will be supported to stay together, while it plans its next defence of the Auld Mug," he says. "Cabinet has agreed to invest in the team from within existing budgets."

Nash says that backing will likely be about $5m, left over from the $136.5m sum set aside for America's Cup infrastructure this time round.

Team NZ have denied reports that the Isle of Wight - where the trophy came into existence 170 years ago - will be the next host of America's Cup racing.