Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton is determined the syndicate's 29-year America's Cup dynasty will not be sunk by the selection of Bermuda to host the next event.
America's Cup officials yesterday confirmed the small, exclusive island that sits on the northern tip of the Bermuda Triangle - an area famed for its shipwrecks and mysterious disappearances of planes - would host the 35th edition of the regatta in June 2017.
With reports surfacing two weeks ago in the US that Bermuda had beaten out San Diego, the venue of the 1988, 1992 and 1995 America's Cup match, for the right to host the 2017 event, there was little shock value in yesterday's announcement. There was also little in the way of detail offered up at the press conference held at a glitzy New York hotel.
Questions around key aspects of Bermuda's offer were deftly batted away, as were those on the small island's suitability to host a major sporting event of this scale. Instead, the America's Cup community was delivered a grand sales pitch on Bermuda's many virtues, which emphasised the island's "crystal blue waters and pink sand beaches that will provide such a stunning setting" and ignored any infrastructure and logistical challenges.
"From the very start, Bermuda's bid was designed around our many strengths, including our near-perfect sailing conditions, our temperate year-round climate for team training, our optimal location and time zone for visitors and television viewers alike, the intimate and unmatched setting offered by Bermuda's Great Sound, our maritime legacy and innovation, and the spirit and hospitality of our people," said the island's Premier, Michael Dunkley.
He promised a purpose-built America's Cup village with all the team bases to be housed in one basin area, providing a "pit row" experience for the public.
But it was Bermuda's status as a tax haven that was considered the biggest tick in the box. America's Cup organisers pointed to the "financial concessions and operational efficiencies" Bermuda offers, which would have been impossible to obtain in any US jurisdiction.
While Bermuda was the more commercially appealing option for the America's Cup Events Authority, that was not the view shared by the challengers.
Bermuda may offer a spectacular sailing venue, but in terms of commercial opportunities it is a veritable wasteland.
Team New Zealand made it clear from the outset their preference was San Diego, as the West Coast of the US provided a larger market for the syndicate's sponsors and backers, including the Government.
However Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton said yesterday Bermuda's selection ahead of San Diego, "despite what many pessimists had said", would not be a serious setback for the team.
"At this stage we will be there, I can tell you that," said Dalton. "My job is to make sure the legacy of 29 years and the dynasty of Team New Zealand continues."
Dalton said the early feedback from their sponsors was Bermuda wouldn't be a "deal-breaker" as initially feared, pointing out one sponsor - luxury watch brand Omega - even preferred the exclusive resort island due to the unique hospitality options it offered.
"When it became apparent that Bermuda's bid was favoured we stepped up our analysis of Bermuda as a venue both in operational terms and for the opportunities it might provide for our sponsors, suppliers and New Zealand Inc to leverage their involvement with the team. We were encouraged by what we learned."
The Government, whom Team NZ rely on for critical funding, will be less concerned with the hosting opportunities, however. Dalton's pitch for further tax-payer funding will now centre around the potential economic benefits from hosting one or more of the lead-up events.
America's Cup officials revealed at yesterday's announcement they had received a "serious proposal from Team NZ to host a major event or events" in the lead-up to the 2017 regatta.
Dalton said negotiations with Cup officials are in the delicate stages, but he hoped to be able to reveal more by the end of the year.
"It's exciting, I hope we can pull it off. It would be great for New Zealand, for the industry and really for the fan base," he said.
35th America's Cup - What we know so far
• The event will be staged in Bermuda in June 2017.
• Racing will be staged on The Great Sound in Bermuda, an intimate natural amphitheatre. Part of Bermuda's winning bid promised a purpose-built America's Cup village with all the team bases to be housed in one basin area, providing a "pit row" experience for the public.
• Five challengers have signed on to compete in the event - Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa (Italy), Artemis (Sweden), Ben Ainslie Racing (Great Britain) and Team France - with interest lodged from two further teams.
• The America's Cup sailing programme will kick off in June next year with the first round of the World Series, sailed in the smaller AC45 catamarans. The venue for the opening round has not yet been announced, but organisers have confirmed Portsmouth, Great Britain (July), Gothenburg, Sweden (August) and Hamilton, Bermuda (October) will all host events next year. Four to six events are expected in 2016, including a summer regatta in Chicago.
• In 2017, all teams will compete in their new AC62 foiling catamarans, powered by highly efficient wingsails. Racing begins for all teams with the America's Cup Qualifiers where the teams are seeded according to their results in the World Series.
• The top challengers in the qualifiers then go on to compete in the America's Cup Challenger playoffs in Bermuda for the right to race Oracle Team USA in the Cup match in June 2017.
5 things about Bermuda
1 A tiny British-run colony 1500km east of the east coast of the US settled by shipwrecked English travellers heading for Virginia, US, in 1609.
2 Population of 65,000 and land mass of 54sq km (about half the size of Waiheke Island).
3 Fourth-highest per capita income in the world (US$86,000).
4 Recently described as a "notorious tax haven" in an international report - US$94 billion of tax-free profits were declared in 2010 by US companies with subsidiaries on the island. Corporates pay zero tax and multinationals including Google and Nike have offices there.
5 Known as a playground for the rich and famous - the average house price is $1.1 million - and as a premier sailing destination.