INEOS Team UK chief executive Grant Simmer expects the most recent stoush between Team New Zealand and Challenger of Record Luna Rossa to all blow over before too long.
The Arbitration Panel is currently working through whether or not Team New Zealand will be permitted to compete in the America's Cup World Series event next month after claims they were late paying their NZ$435,000 entry fee for the regatta.
But while the panel could rule Team New Zealand out of the event, Simmer told Newstalk ZB's D'Arcy Waldegrave he expects they will come to a different decision.
"I don't think that will happen. I mean, they paid their entry fee a couple of days late, I think it's a bit of a dead issue," Simmer said.
"I'd be amazed if Team New Zealand wasn't sailing in the Christmas regatta."
The Christmas regatta was supposed to be the third and final World Series event, however the earlier events in Cagliari and Portsmouth were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, December's competition in Auckland is the only chance for racing between syndicates before the Challenger Series gets underway in mid-January, with the America's Cup match to follow in early March.
Team New Zealand do not race in the Challenger Series, which is used to determine who will get to battle for the Auld Mug, so missing the Christmas regatta would mean they would have no competitive racing under their belt before the main festivities begin.
It could be a disadvantage for them if it gets to that point, with Simmer giving a glowing review of the strength of all three challengers in next year's competition; INEOS Team UK, Luna Rossa and American Magic.
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"It actually a pretty strong fleet the challengers this time around," Simmer said. "But the Kiwis had to stop sailing because they were getting their new boat ready, and they looked really strong when they were sailing their first boat, so I think they were setting the bar. But even they would be surprised that the challengers, as a group, are looking pretty damn strong.
"The Challenger series is going to be hard-fought, and then the match is going to be hard-fought; that would be my long-term prediction."