Four Kiwis have been named in the New York Yacht Club's team to challenge for the America's Cup.
Former Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker will helm the American Magic bid in Auckland in 2021 as well as country-men Sean Clarkson, Jim Turner and Joe Spooner.
The 17-man initial roster announced today includes US Olympians Caleb Paine and Bora Gulari and Paul Goodison of Britain, an Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion in the foiling Moth class.
The roster includes three sailors who have won the America's Cup and eight who have sailed in the Olympics. The team members have done a combined 31 America's Cup campaigns. Nine of the 17 are Americans.
"It's hard to not feel incredibly energized and motivated by what's in front of us," skipper and executive director Terry Hutchinson, a veteran of four America's Cup campaigns, told AP.
"The sailors are just a small part of it because I know we right now are doing the work needed to win the regatta."
American Magic announced last month that it will build two boats in Bristol, Rhode Island. Design is underway on the radical foiling 75-foot monohulls that will be used in the 36th America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2021.
Barker, who has been sailing with the syndicate in various regattas, has a checkered America's Cup past but has experience both in the high-speed, foiling catamarans that were sailed in the last two regattas, and the 75-foot sloops that were used prior to 2010.
Barker won the America's Cup as backup helmsman for Team New Zealand in 2000 — he steered the boat in the clinching race — but was on the losing side in 2007 and 2013, when the Kiwis blew an 8-1 lead and lost eight straight races to Oracle Team USA. Barker skippered Softbank Team Japan in the 2017 America's Cup, blowing a 3-1 lead to Artemis Racing of Sweden in the challenger semifinals.
Hutchinson said he's excited by the addition of Gulari, 42, who has a degree in aerospace engineering and is a two-time Moth world champion.
"The thing about him is his intellectual ability matches his sailing ability," Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said Gulari has the potential to be a great helmsman.
"He comes at it from a completely different perspective but he understands the science behind it. Those two combined could be incredibly powerful.
"Paine was the United States' only sailing medalist in the last two Olympics, taking bronze in 2016 in the Finn class. Gulari competed in the Nacra 17 class in the Rio Games. Paine and Gulari plan to sail in the 2020 Olympics.
Paine, 27, said Hutchinson contacted him after the 2016 Olympics.
"It's one of those things that every sailor dreams of, going to the Olympics and winning a medal and then being a part of an America's Cup team and then maybe doing the Volvo Ocean Race," Paine said.
"This is one step closer to making all those dreams come true.''
Paine said he likes the mixture of youth and experienced sailors.
"It's just an awesome combination for great results in the future. I definitely think we could win it. I don't see why not. We have tons of experience and a lot of great sailors," Paine said.
"I'm incredibly optimistic about all of it," Hutchinson said. "We have a very clear vision of what we want to do and I'm confident we're developing a team that's going to give us an opportunity to go and execute on it.''
American Magic, INEOS Team UK and Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge are the only syndicates that met the initial entry deadline for the 2021 America's Cup in New Zealand.
A late entry period will end November 30, but teams must pay a $1 million late entry fee on top of other fees. A handful of other syndicates are interested in challenging. Among them are a group that has said it would be 100 per cent American.