Blair Tuke is poised to compete in the upcoming edition of the Volvo Ocean Race as he chases an unprecedented triple crown, while Peter Burling, the other half of New Zealand sailing's most celebrated pairing, continues to mull over his options.
Tuke is understood to have signed with one of the established Volvo teams, raising the possibility he could pull off the rare treble of Olympic, America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race victories in consecutive years.
No New Zealand sailor has won all three, while it is thought to be unprecedented at international level as well.
Burling, who has fielded a multitude of offers since helming Emirates Team New Zealand to glory in the America's Cup last month, is also said to be considering doing the iconic round the world race, but is yet to commit to a team.
The pair, who have won Olympic gold and silver in the 49er class, had been approached to headline a potential New Zealand-flagged entry, but attempts to pull together a campaign at this late stage appear to have fallen short.
Tuke, who has been the most vocal about his aspirations to do the gruelling yacht race, which gets underway in Alicante, Spain in October, quickly leapt at the opportunity to join another campaign.
The Herald has learned Volvo Ocean Race chief executive Mark Turner was very keen to see Team New Zealand put together a campaign for the 2017-18 race, and held a series of meetings with Grant Dalton during the America's Cup in Bermuda.
Team NZ were involved in the 2011-12 race with a joint New Zealand-Spanish flagged boat due to a partnership with Spanish footwear company Camper, and Dalton has made no secret of his wish to be involved with the race again.
Chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge said the possibility of doing a campaign was "heavily discussed", but in order to be highly competitive and represent the Team NZ brand properly, they needed to be on the water two months ago.
"We have talked about it a lot, but with all the planning and preparation that needs to take place, we just couldn't do it properly at this late stage," said Shoebridge.
"The first qualifying race is five weeks away, so there is too much to be done at a time when we are also having to think about what shape the next America's Cup will take."
With Tuke's path for the next 12 months now set in stone, much anticipation surrounds what Burling's next move will be. The 26-year-old told the Herald following last month's victory in Bermuda the Volvo Ocean Race was firmly on his radar, but it will now likely be with a rival team to Tuke, his long-time sailing partner.
An announcement on which Volvo team Tuke has signed with is expected in the coming days.
Seven teams are confirmed for the 2017-18 race, which will have a stopover in Auckland in March 2018, including returning teams Dongfeng, Team Brunel, MAPFRE and Vestas 11th Hour Racing.