America's Cup: Swiss heavyweights Alinghi poised for Cup comeback

One of the America's Cup's most famed rivalries is set to resume, with Swiss boat Alinghi confirmed to join the Challenger series for the next regatta in 2024.

Newshub understands the Swiss syndicate has paid the entry fee and will return to the water from an 11-year absence.

Skippered by Kiwi Russell Coutts alongside compatriot Brad Butterworth as tactician, Alinghi swept team NZ 5-0 to lift the Auld Mug for the first time back in 2003.

In 2007, they successfully defended their crown, beating Team NZ 5-2 in the Cup match.

Alinghi's return will add some much needed depth to the event, after only three challengers raced for the right to take on Team NZ earlier this year.

Last month, Team NZ and Ineos Britannia announced their protocol for the next regatta, which is aimed to reduce the cost barrier to entry for potential contenders.

The venue is set to be confirmed by March 31, with Valencia in Spain, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, an Cork in Ireland the current frontrunners.

Alinghi famously lured Coutts and Butterworth from Team NZ for their successful Cup bid in 2003, and there are suggestions the off-contract duo of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke may also be in their sights.

While the strict new nationality rules mean neither would be eligible to race for Alinghi in the next Cup, they may be in their plans for the following regatta.

American Magic and Luna Rossa are also expected to confirm their attendance in 2024, with applications for entry officially open from Wednesday.

Team NZ chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge says they're heartened by the amount of early interest.

"[RNZYS and Team NZ] have had very positive initial interest since the release of the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup," says Shoebridge.

"Feedback and interest from prospective teams, both existing and new has been very encouraging."

Identities of the challengers will be kept under wraps to allow the syndicates themselves to make their own announcements, says Team NZ.