The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Commodore Steve Mair says China's yacht racing team, China Team, have "huge ambitions" to compete in the next America's Cup.

First formed in 2005, China Team made their international debut in 2007 when they raced in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the challenger series prior to the 34th America's Cup.

China Team hasn't challenged for the prestigious cup since, but Mair said 'to have China involved again in both sailing and the America's Cup would be a fantastic outcome.'

"They're super enthusiastic ... It would be a huge ambition for them for this coming America's Cup," Mair told the Herald.


After a Chinese team base was featured in the recent America's Cup Village animation, speculations were strong about their potential entry to race in the 36th regatta, but Mair said although they show incredible aspiration China may not have enough current facilities to make the 2021 event.

"Certainly they would love to but I don't know if they're at that stage yet ... there's a while to go before they unite as one and become a powerful sailing entity, but I don't think it's far away."

Mair said China's core limitation at this stage is infrastructure with a lack of inbuilt industries and facilities.

"In New Zealand we really take it for granted we've got grass roots to graze here, we have a corporate and public acceptance with sailing, we've got the whole package here, China is very new to sailing so they don't have that inbuilt industry within them ... there's certainly the political will, certainly the will of the people, I think the government see it as a fantastic sport."

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Six weeks ago, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron took their most prized trophy to the 11th China Cup held in Shenzhen city, the biggest regatta in Asia.

Mair said the purpose was to promote sailing and specifically the America's Cup event to the people and developing youth sailors of China.

"Part of the role for us is to one, promote the America's Cup as an event to the Chinese but also to promote sailing in China. Part of the responsibility when you win America's Cup is that you do good for the sport."

Mair told the Herald although China are still a while off challenging for the mighty cup, they have shown strong indications of assembling a Chinese youth team to compete in the Youth America's Cup.

As showcased in Bermuda, the Youth America's Cup accommodates sailors aged 19-25 who race in a two-pool Qualifying Series, and if featured at the 2021 event would certainly be something on China's radar.

"They're very keen to have a youth America's Cup team … and that's something certainly from New Zealand's perspective and from a squadron's perspective we'd love to get them involved in as well," said Mair.

Mair said China's ever-emerging sailing industry is now well supported by the government and the country see the sport as an effective way to educate their youth on the environment.

"It's driven by the wind, it's environmentally friendly it's a great way to educate people about the sea and pollution ... If your trying to teach an emerging nation things like pollution and sustainability there's no better way than to get them on the water."