Talk of an Australian challenge for the next America's Cup is gathering pace after Team New Zealand last week unveiled the protocol for the 2021 event.
Olympic champion Tom Slingsby, who is one of a handful of high-profile Australian sailors involved with Oracle Team USA over the past two editions, has declared he is devoting the next year of his life to putting together an Australian America's Cup team together.
Slingsby has rented a property in Sydney and is working with two others to approach potential backers of a team, according to specialist sailing website mysailing.com.au.
"There are a few people I'd love to start a team with. There's nothing concrete at this stage but we're approaching potential backers," said Slingsby, the tactician aboard Oracle in this year's America's Cup in Bermuda.
While Team NZ are yet to work through the finer points of the design rule for the new 75-ft monohull class that will be raced in the next America's Cup, Slingsby said last week's Protocol release provided enough detail to start formulating a plan and talking to investors.
"In all honesty there's enough information (in the protocol) to allow you to start getting a budget together," Slingsby told mysailing.com.au.
"I'm pretty sure it (the AC75) will be foiling. Maybe not upwind but certainly downwind in certain wind strengths. We know roughly the size of the crews needed, but that's not our problem."
With Australians well represented across the crews at this year's event in Bermuda, including three of the skippers - Team NZ's Glenn Ashby, Jimmy Spithill of Oracle Team USA and Artemis' Nathan Outteridge - there is a strong belief Australia could be a force to be reckoned with if they were to re-enter the America's Cup.
There hasn't been an Australian syndicate in the America's Cup since the last event in Auckland in 2003, but with Team NZ moving to tighten the nationality rules for the crew for the 36th America's Cup, there is a sense the time is right for Australia to get back in the game.
"Here in Australia we've got enough interest, we've got the sailors, the boat builders, the shore crew, the managers. It's just a question of rasing the money and getting the right team together," said Slingsby.
"Now's the time to do it. I've got a couple more (Cup campaigns) left in me. I'd like my legacy to be an Australian team that's campaigning long after I'm gone."
The prospect of an Australian challenge could prove tempting for Ashby, who told the Herald last week he is yet to decide whether he will commit to Team NZ's 2021 defence.