'Some teams are struggling': Team NZ's America's Cup admission

Radio Sport,
Publish Date
Thursday, 11 April 2019, 1:15PM
The America's Cup will be contested in Auckland in 2021, and not all teams may make it. (Photo / Photosport)

Team New Zealand have conceded that not all three new syndicates may make the start line for the next America's Cup.

Team NZ chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge says although it is tough for new teams, all six challengers are still in the mix.

"At this stage all six challengers are still in play. No one has withdrawn. It's a fact that it's pretty tough and some of them are struggling," Shoebridge told Radio Sport.

"It's one of these things, we're not trying to force anyone out. We're trying to be completely supportive of these new teams. It's actually a really hard thing to do to start a team from scratch so they need all the help they can get."

Shoebridge said they also received some good news this morning from the Maltese, with previous reports that their historic challenge for the America's Cup was in danger of capitulating.

"Malta is now as of a few hours ago saying that they could be back in the game so we're hopeful that's the case.

"Stars and Stripes is going through another management restructure and a restructure of the team at the moment over at Long Beach but Long Beach Yacht Club is still fully behind the Stars and Stripes challenge.

"And then you've got the Dutch team with Simeon [Tienpont] up in Holland there who is still working full speed ahead trying to make the deadline.

"So there's other things at play that will come into this soon, which is at some point you've actually got to start building a boat to be able to sail in Cagliari in April next year."

Despite some worries about the three new challengers, Shoebridge said the three teams that have entered early are one of the strongest in recent years, also adding that Team NZ are in good shape.

"It's early days but we're looking good and we're full speed ahead down here at the moment. We're about a 110 people now with the team and we're busy building a boat.

"It's been a pretty frantic year and a half or nearly two years since the Cup but we haven't really stopped and it's going well.

"The three teams that have entered early into this event are very strong. They're probably the strongest group of challengers we've had for years I would say."