Team NZ first to confirm America's Cup challenge

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on behalf of Emirates Team New Zealand is the first official challenger for the America’s  Cup

The San Francisco-based Golden Gate Yacht Club and cupholder Oracle Team USA have said entries are also expected from Luna Rossa (Italy), Artemis Racing (Sweden), Team France (France) and Ben Ainslie Racing (UK).

The deadline is midnight Pacific Time on August 8 (7pm tomorrow NZ Time).

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has been involved with all but one New Zealand America’s Cup campaign since 1987, winning at San Diego in 1995 and successfully defending at Auckland in 2000.

“New Zealand has a distinguished history in the America’s Cup and we expect Emirates Team New Zealand will once again make New Zealand proud, just as it has done many times in the past,” Commodore Steve Burrett says.

“We wish the team well and we look forward to contributing to the success of the 35th America’s Cup.”

Emirates Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton says the team is pleased to be able to be in a position to challenge with the confidence of being able to represent the country well.

“This is the official start of a long, hard journey. We do not under-estimate the challenges ahead. We look forward to working with the other teams to create a great event,” he says.

Team New Zealand lost last year's challenge 9-8 in San Francisco after building up a commanding 8-1 lead over holder Oracle USA.

The venue for the 2017 challenge series is yet to be decided, although Oracle USA’s head Sir Russell Coutts has narrowed the choices to Bermuda or San Diego. A decision will be made later this year.

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