America's Cup 2021: DutchSail struggling, but determined to make Auckland startline

America's Cup challenger DutchSail has pledged to keep striving towards the Auckland 2021 startline, despite facing massive financial obstacles.

On Tuesday, Newshub reported that three of the six registered challengers for the 'Auld Mug' were struggling to get their ducks in a row, putting millions of dollars of event funding at risk.

Late entries DutchSail, Malta Altus and Stars & Stripes Team USA were apparently far behind in their preparations - the American team's withdrawal was believed to be imminent.

Much of Team New Zealand's funding for the event is tied to having at least three challengers, so losing half of the six-team field would not be ideal.

But Team NZ insists no teams have pulled out yet and the Dutch team has released a statement, admitting it's under the pump, but restating its commitment to the campaign.

"We started in November with a backlog and we are working hard to make up lost ground," says DutchSail general manager Eelco Blok. "It will be incredibly exciting to put together the funding.

"We are facing killer deadlines, but as long as there are chances, we won't give up."

Sail World reports all three late-entry teams were required to pay a US$250,000 instalment on their fee on April 1. The full US$1m 'performance bond' is due by the end of April, although in previous events, this hasn't necessarily been a cash payment.

Last week, DutchSail launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the required capital, calling on supporters to pledge 100 euros a month for 24 months. 

A major cost to challengers - especially latecomers - is design of the AC75 monohull yachts that will fly over the water at up to 80km/h on a single hydrofoil.

With timeframes tight, the easy - but costly - solution for teams is buying a basic design package from Team NZ for $5m. The real issue is not so much funding as cashflow.

Former America's Cup skipper Chris Dickson told The AM Show that he was still confident the 2021 regatta would provide legitimate competition for the trophy.

"The last two America's Cup events had four teams and five teams respectively," he said. "This event in New Zealand will be at least as good."