America's Cup veteran Chris Dickson says revelations of an alleged leak inside the Team New Zealand camp will impact on their America's Cup defence.
On Tuesday, the team revealed the three contractors that were hired to help run next year's event have been fired, after confidential information found its way outside the organisation.
Confirmation of the discovery's timing has sparked major concern over the potential damage to their Cup campaign. Team NZ manager Grant Dalton has revealed that he sensed the team had a problem as far back as December last year.
"There was something not quite right," says Dalton. "The team dynamic was feeling wrong."
Former America's Cup skipper Dickson says the news made him cringe.
"They'll be sickened by this," Dickson tells Newshub.
After six months of access inside the camp, there's no telling exactly what - or how much - information has leaked.
"This isn't good news for Team New Zealand and the result of what it really means, we won't know until the actual racing, but it will have an impact," Dickson adds.
The three people identified were part of a team responsible for running the America's Cup event - they weren't part of the design team.
Dickson says it doesn't matter.
"They're under the same roof, within the same four walls. Loose lips sink ships... this isn't good.
"Whether it's fine detail, design plans or maybe it's just as broad as where Team New Zealand is spending its budget for best effect... any information going out the door to your competitor is bad."
With the action taken, Dickson says Team New Zealand are stronger today than they were yesterday, but there's no hiding from the truth.
"This will have had an impact and some effect on their chances of retaining the America's Cup."
And 249 days from the start of the regatta, the race for the Cup is well and truly on.
Watch the full story above