The chance for young Kiwi sailors to compete in the America's Cup may just have got tougher.
In confirming it had accepted a challenge from the UK's Royal Yacht Squadron, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron revealed the next edition of the Cup would require 100 per cent of each race crew to either be a passport holder of the country of the team's yacht club as at March 19, 2021, or to have been in that country for two of the previous three years prior to March 18, 2021.
While there will no doubt be trials and ways for new blood to work their way into Team New Zealand, young Kiwis may find themselves hoping for entries from smaller nations to stick in the hope of joining a team.
As an exception to the nationality rule, "emerging nations: will have a discretionary provision allowing a quota of non-nationals on the race crew. However, as was the case in the 36th America's Cup, the new editions to the Cup — such as Malta and Netherlands — couldn't fund their campaigns and withdrew.
The 37th Cup will again be contested in the AC75 vessels, which could produce the same problems.
Rather than hope for a spot to open up, or an emerging nation to come knocking, young Kiwi sailors looking to compete at the pinnacle of the sport might now find the allure of Sail GP more enticing, as it is a yearly contest and — at this point — allows 40 per cent of the race crew to be foreign.