Accomplished sailor Nathan Outteridge has joined Team New Zealand for the next America's Cup campaign.
The 35-year-old Australian, a two-time Olympic medallist with a strong America's Cup history, qualifies under the strict nationality rules to be introduced for the next Cup cycle.
Outteridge, who lives in Auckland with wife Emma, the daughter of Team NZ manager Ross Blackman, has long been a regular rival of Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling and foils controller Blair Tuke.
He skippers the Japanese entry in the SailGP and finished second last season.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Outteridge and teammate Iain Jensen beat Burling and Tuke to win the 49er gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, but lost out to the Kiwi duo four years later in Rio to claim silver. He has also racked up 19 world championship medals across the Moth, 29er, 49er, Farr 40 and Nacra 17 classes, including nine gold medals.
Outteridge was also helmsman for Artemis Racing in the 2013 America's Cup and went head-to-head with Burling in 2017, which was won by Team NZ.
Team NZ COO Kevin Shoebridge said Outteridge will strengthen the team.
"Obviously we are pleased to have secured Nathan to join the sailing team for the 37th America's Cup," Shoebridge said. "Emirates Team New Zealand's approach is to continually get stronger, so with him joining the likes of Pete, Blair, Glenn [Ashby], Josh [Junior], Andy [Maloney], etc., you cannot have too much talent and he will compliment this group well.
"His experience and knowledge in high performance foiling boats can only benefit Emirates Team New Zealand and AC37 campaign, and we are looking forward to him joining the rest of the team."
It is unclear how Outteridge will fit into the Kiwi setup. There is also potential for Outteridge to join Burling in a dual-helmsman approach as seen by Luna Rossa at this year's America's Cup.
His signing comes as Burling and Tuke's future remains uncertain, with the duo yet to re-sign with Team NZ, while it's understood that Ashby has re-signed with the team.
Earlier this month, Burling and Tuke said they are waiting for "clarity" around the 37th America's Cup defence before re-signing with Team NZ.
The Kiwi sailing duo, who have been competing in Europe for the New Zealand SailGP team following their 49er silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, are off contract with Team NZ in December.
"It's been a busy year. Since AC36 we've been overseas dedicated to representing New Zealand at the Olympic Games and a big European leg with the NZL SailGP Team, as well as continuing our work with Live Ocean," Burling and Tuke said in a joint statement.
"We're supportive of Team New Zealand management's efforts to ensure a successful defence of the America's Cup and respect the complexities the next event will bring in a post-Covid world.
"As you can appreciate, we'd like clarity on the fundamentals of the event before we commit. We're in regular conversation with the team as the process is worked through."
Details around the next America's Cup are still yet to be confirmed, with the protocol due to be published on November 17, while the venue for 37th edition of the event still remains unknown following a stagnant last-ditch bid to keep the Cup defence in New Zealand.