The leader of the New York Yacht Club's America's Cup challenge, Terry Hutchinson, is no stranger to Team New Zealand.
The veteran sailor was tactician for the Kiwi team in the 2007 Cup in Valencia - the latest to be sailed in monohulls - when Emirates Team New Zealand recorded the only sweep in Louis Vuitton Finals history before being beaten by Alinghi 5-2.
Hutchinson, speaking on the club's website after it officially announced its intention to challenge for the 2021 Cup in Auckland, said the decisions made over the next six months would play a significant role in determining the success of their campaign.
"The early support of Hap [John Fauth], Doug [DeVos] and the New York Yacht Club puts us in a very strong position. But we can't take anything for granted. The race for the 36th America's Cup has already begun."
The club is one of the most storied in the history of the Auld Mug, holding it from 1851 until 1983 when Australia II triumphed. Its last challenge involved Team Dennis Conner in the 2002-03 Auckland event won by Alinghi.
The challenging syndicate will be led by two of the most successful American yachtsmen of the last decade - John "Hap" Fauth and Doug DeVos. Since 2005, at the helm of three successive yachts named Bella Mente, Fauth and his team have won numerous distance and buoy races in the US, Europe and the Caribbean. Fauth is a three-time world champion in the Maxi72 class.
DeVos and the Quantum Racing programme have set the standard on the 52 Super Series circuit, and its predecessor, the MedCup, with overall series wins in 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016. One common link between the two teams is Hutchinson, a two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and veteran America's Cup competitor. Hutchinson, like Fauth, is a long-time New York Yacht Club member.
Team New Zealand's desire to go back to the traditions of the Cup and race monohulls played a big part in New York's decision to re-enter the contest.
Club commodore Philip Lotz said the America's Cup had always remained close to the heart of the New York Yacht Club.
"For this cycle, a lot of elements have come together in the correct way for the Club to enter another challenge. First and foremost is the desire of two great American sailors and businessmen, Hap Fauth and Doug DeVos, to take aim at sailing's ultimate competition.
"We know they will mount a competitive effort that is respectful of the club's long history with the Cup and the competition itself. Second, we have confidence the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand, will host a world-class regatta that honours the spirit, tradition and majesty of this great event.
"The America's Cup is sailing's most complex challenge," says Fauth. "Winning takes a complete team effort, and I've always found tremendous satisfaction in bringing together a group of individuals in pursuit of one goal.
"With a return to a more traditional style of yacht and the windward-leeward courses with which the vast majority of racing sailors are intimately familiar, the 36th America's Cup represents a unique opportunity to re-engage the grass roots of the sport and re-energise American sailing.
"A lot of what we've built with the Bella Mente program, and what Doug and his team have created with Quantum Racing, will go into the foundation of this campaign. But there's still a tremendous amount of work to do over the next three-plus years. I'm excited to get started."
Sailing is a tradition for the DeVos family that started with his father Richard, the co-founder of Amway. Doug, the current president of Amway, and his siblings grew up sailing the Great Lakes on their father's boats.
These days, Doug can often be found sailing with his son and daughters, passing along the passion and skill he absorbed from his father. He's also an industry stakeholder as an owner of Quantum Sails, one of the world's leading sail manufacturers. The Quantum Racing program has acted as a test bed for sail design and construction technology, with Doug and son Dalton serving among the team's stable of helmsmen.
An America's Cup challenge is a natural evolution for the program. It's also a return to the competition for the DeVos family. Richard was the chairman of the New York Yacht Club's America II syndicate, which fell just short of the semifinals in the 1987 challenger eliminations in Perth, Australia.
"Building Quantum Racing from scratch into a program synonymous with hard work, team spirit and success has been tremendously satisfying, and I'm eager to take everything we've learned there and apply it toward sailing's ultimate test," said DeVos.
"Between Hap, Terry and myself, we have the nucleus of a successful campaign, both on the water and off. We're honoured to represent the New York Yacht Club in this historic competition."
Even though entries won't officially open until January 1, and the class rule for the AC75 won't be finalised until March 31, there are many pivotal decisions ahead for this team. The return to monohulls will enable the team to pool the technological resources of two elite sailing programs and get a jump on the competition.
America's Cup key dates:
November 30: AC75 class concepts released to key stakeholders
January 1, 2018: Entries for challengers open
March 31, 2018: AC75 class rule published
June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers Close
August 31, 2018: Location of the America's Cup match and the challenger series confirmed; specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries Deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat one can be launched
Second half of 2019: two America's Cup World Series preliminary events
February 1, 2020: Boat two can be launched
2020: three America's Cup World Series preliminary events
10th-20th December 2020: America's Cup Christmas regatta
January and February 2021: Challenger series
March 2021: America's Cup