Team New Zealand have moved to keep the country's top sailing talent out of the clutches of America's Cup competitors - only days after winning the Auld Mug for the fourth time.
Speaking to NZME, commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) Aaron Young confirmed that strict new nationality rules would require 100 per cent of crews to be citizens or have spent two of the previous three years in the country they represent.
With the America's Cup locked away for at least another year, the new regulation will likely allow Team NZ to retain the likes of helmsman Peter Burling and flight controller Blair Tuke, who would have attracted the interest of billionaire-backed teams during their defence of the Cup in Auckland.
Young said they want to keep the regatta as an event between countries.
"The America's Cup is a sporting event between nations and we're trying to take that back a little bit to tradition and what the America's Cup has been about.
"No one's asked for it particularly, but we feel that's the right way to go to enhance the event."
As first reported by the Herald on Tuesday, the British Royal Yacht Squadron - who are represented by Ineos Team UK and have Sir Ben Ainslie as their skipper - have been confirmed as the next Challenger of Record for the 37th America's Cup.
Team UK are bankrolled by Jim Ratcliffe, Britain's wealthiest man, and are a logical partner for the next Cup, given how the association between Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa - the COR for the 36th America's Cup - has steadily deteriorated over the last year.
Young said they're a "long way off" organising the next event, which is rumoured to be as soon as next year in a one-off regatta between Team NZ and Team UK at the Isle of Wight.
"Right now Team New Zealand are in a negotiation period with the NZ Government around what happens. We'll leave that with them to work through.
"The team are in an exclusive three-month negotiation period so there's not going to be anything before then.
"As we all know the option sits with New Zealand to see if we can put something together to enable us to race the 37th Am Cup in Auckland but there's a lot to work through and there's a lot for and against."
Young also confirmed that the next regatta would be sailed in the AC75 foiling monohulls - used for the first time in Auckland.
"The main thing is that we will be sailing the same boats - the AC75s. We'll be seeing them out again, hopefully in New Zealand," Young said.
"They've changed the sport for the average person. They've made it more relatable, more exciting. The America's Cup has always been about innovation and technology as much as sailing and the AC75 has done that.
"There's a lot to work through yet ... we have a number of months to work through a lot of detail."
The AC75 class shall remain the class of yacht for the next two America's Cup cycles, and teams will be restricted to building only one new AC75 for the next event, while the defender and the Challenger of Record will be investigating and agreeing to campaign cost-reduction measures - including measures to attract a higher number of challengers and to assist with the establishment of new teams.
The introduction of strict nationality rules will require 100 per cent of the race crew for each competitor to either be a passport holder of the country of the team's yacht club as at 19 March 2021, or to have been physically present in that country (or, acting on behalf of such yacht club in Auckland during the 36th America's Cup) for two of the previous three years prior to 18 March 2021.
As an exception to this requirement, there will be a discretionary provision allowing a quota of non-nationals on the race crew for competitors from "emerging nations".
The new citizenship rules could prevent a repeat of what Team New Zealand were forced to endure ahead of their Cup defence in 2000, when skipper Russell Coutts was lured away on a lucrative deal to join Swiss syndicate Alinghi, immediately becoming the Kiwis' rival.
Tactician Brad Butterworth followed Coutts and the two helped lead Alinghi to victory in Auckland in 2003.