The America's Cup may still be two years away but Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has revealed he's already "nervous as hell".
Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking, Dalton opened up on where the team was at in preparing to defend the Auld Mug in 2021 in Auckland.
Although pleased with the progress they had made, Dalton said the added pressure had already been felt.
"I'm nervous as hell," Dalton said. "I don't get excited I just get nervous and worried and I don't sleep. That just goes on year after year.
"It's more complicated because we're at home and that's good and bad depending on how you look at it. The good is that we're at home and we're the defenders of the cup ... the extra pressure that comes with that of being the defender and the expectations of our own expectations.
Peter Burling and Grant Dalton celebrate with the Americas Cup. Photo / Getty
"I'm nervous because I know we've got a huge responsibility. It's the oldest sporting trophy in the world ... We've got the eyes of four and a half million people on us and we need to hold onto it too."
Reflecting back on Team New Zealand's woes in 2015 when the syndicate were on the verge having to pull the pin on what became a Cup-winning campaign, Dalton said things were in much better shape this time around.
"We're the opposite than we might have been this time three or four years ago," he said. "There are good decisions being made.
"This time last time we were basically about to fold and this time we're certainly not about to fold.
"I use the analogy of the Rugby World Cup back in 2011 when they just held on and then we went into that dynasty period, and now this organisation feels a little bit like that."
Earlier this month it was reported that half the teams challenging the America's Cup would not make it to the start line after failing to get enough financial backing.
It was reported that Malta's entry was "dead in the water," DutchSail were resorting to crowdfunding and California's Stars and Stripes was drafting a media release to announce its withdrawal.
However, all six challengers remain in play and have confirmed they have no intentions of withdrawing from the event as things stand.