Sir Russell Coutts, the most successful America's Cup figure of all time, believes Team New Zealand young gun Peter Burling is a more complete sailor than he was.
Today marks 20 years since Coutts steered Team NZ to a 5-0 clean-sweep of Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes on the waters off San Diego to lift the America's Cup for the first time.
Today, in part two of an exclusive online series on the 1995 campaign, Coutts and some of the key members of the crew relive the drama of the Cup match, the wild celebrations in San Diego, and the incredible scenes that greeted the team when they arrived back in New Zealand.
Those days when Team NZ were the admiration of the sailing world are in stark contrast to the team's present fortunes, with the syndicate facing an uncertain future after a brutal 18 months of controversy and upheaval.
Coutts, who was also the man responsible for taking the America's Cup away from these shores, said that in Burling, Team NZ boasted "a tremendous asset. He's just an amazing talent. Quite possibly the best sailing talent in the world right now," Coutts told the Herald.
"The interesting thing about him is he can adapt well to any type of boat and sail it pretty well and I think he's got potential with a good group of young guys around him to really go a long way."
Comparisons between Coutts, New Zealand's most decorated sailor, and Burling have long been drawn. They both come across as serious characters with an intense, single-minded focus on sailing.
Like Coutts, Burling possesses incredible talent, sharpened by hours of training. And, as Coutts did early in his sailing career, Burling is studying towards an engineering degree at Auckland University.
But Coutts believes the young helmsman is a much better sailor than he was at the same stage in his career.
"He has got much broader skills than what I had. He can jump into trapeze boats and single-handed boats, he won the moth worlds. He's not just limited to high performance boats, he can sail pretty much anything. Whereas I wasn't that good in high-performance boats growing up," said Coutts.
"He's got skills across the board, which in the modern era is what you need. He's a tremendous talent."
Coutts, who heads the America's Cup Events Authority, responsible for the 2017 event in Bermuda, has had a combative relationship with Team NZ boss Grant Dalton in recent years. But he will know the importance of having Team NZ - the longest-running America's Cup syndicate - on the startline in Bermuda, with the event facing serious credibility issues after being dogged by withdrawals.