Tauranga sailor Peter Burling will be one of the two new helmsmen for Emirates Team New Zealand ahead of the next America's Cup, completing "a dream" for the young sailor.
Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times this week on the eve of yesterday's announcement, Burling said skippering Team New Zealand had always been "a dream".
He said being involved in the next Cup challenge had been part of his plan since he was signed by Team New Zealand after the London Olympics and that he had "clear goals" for the America's Cup.
Tauranga City's Mayor, Stuart Crosby, said Burling taking over the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand was fantastic news for the city and the local yachting fraternity.
"I think the whole of Tauranga is very proud of Peter's achievements. He is still a very young man who has achieved so much already, and now Peter is even closer to reaching the pinnacle of his sailing career."
Burling is a former old boy of Tauranga Boys' College.
Principal Robert Mangan said Burling was sports captain at the college, when he took over as principal in 2008.
Mr Mangan said he was delighted for Burling and his family. "We are very proud of Peter's achievements to date and look forward to his future success in his new role. It's very exciting for him, his family, and the whole of Tauranga."
Emirates Team New Zealand announced it had completed the restructuring process that came out of the team-wide review after San Francisco and 50 people will be working fulltime from Monday.
Wing trimmer in 2013 Glenn Ashby has been appointed sailing director and he and Burling will take on helming duties. Ashby is a multiple world and Australian champion in three multihull classes and Burling is current world Moth and, with Blair Tuke, 49er champion.
Axed Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker says it is "incredibly difficult" to see a way forward now with the syndicate after being ousted from any involvement in the sailing team.
After last week describing reports Barker was to be replaced at the helm by talented youngster Burling as inaccurate, Team NZ yesterday confirmed the long-serving skipper would not be at the wheel of the black boat for the next America's Cup campaign. In addition, the syndicate announced Barker had also been replaced as sailing director at the syndicate - that role is to be filled by Ashby.
Barker has instead been offered a role as the team's performance manager and sailing coach, with a place on the executive committee. But Barker said he is not interested in a coaching position.
Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton yesterday denied reports he had fallen out with Barker.
Asked if he regretted the way the information was made public, Dalton said:
"If it has caused Dean and his family distress, then that's very regrettable."
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce hinted at some frustration over the handling of the issue, saying one of the criteria the Government had for funding was the team's cohesiveness. He had not personally spoken to Team NZ's management recently.
See tomorrow's Bay of Plenty Times Weekend for an interview with Peter Burling.