Emirates Team New Zealand cycler Andy Maloney, third from left, reacts as they cross the finish line to win the fifth race of America’s Cup sailing competition against Oracle Team USA. Photo / AP.
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has confirmed cyclors will play no part in the next America’s Cup.
The Kiwi team’s radical pedal-powered innovation was one of the key factors in Team NZ’s stunning win in Bermuda this year, but it appears bikes on boats are set to be consigned to a quirky footnote in the annals of America’s Cup history.
Team NZ will announce their plans for the 36th America’s Cup next week, but the full design rules will not be released until November 30. However, in an interview with Italian publication La Stampa, Dalton indicated the rules wouldn’t allow for cyclors.
When asked if it would be “goodbye to the sailing cyclists”, Dalton told La Stampa “grinders are coming back”.
The Team NZ cyclors were one of a handful of factors that gave the team a healthy speed advantage over their rivals in Bermuda, where they went on to demolish Oracle 7-1 in the Cup match. The cycling innovation was a response to a unique set of challenges posed by the design rules for the power-thirsty and undermanned America’s Cup Class catamarans sailed in Bermuda.
But one of the criticisms of the spectacular high-tech catamarans was that of the six crew on board, three were there to provide the grunt alone, leaving no room for the traditional sailing roles such as bowmen and trimmers.
Since getting their hands on the Auld Mug in June, Team NZ, together with challenger of record Luna Rossa, have made no secret of their intention to return to some of the more traditional elements of the America’s Cup – that appears to include eschewing some of the very factors that gave Team NZ take the Cup in the first place.
Last week, prompted by another article in Italian media, Team NZ announced the next America’s Cup would be sailed in a “high performance monohull”. Some took that to mean a foiling monohull, but Dalton is yet to confirm if that will be the case.
He again dodged the question when it was posed by La Stampa, saying only: “More details will released on November 30″.
Dalton was more open when the talk turned to the team, refuting the suggestion that a return to monohulls would neutralise their design advantage in the multihulls.
“We believe our design team is capable of giving us another great yacht, and that catamarans wouldn’t be ideal for the [choppy sea state] in Auckland. But I want it to be clear that winning the America’s Cup is a privilege, a privilege that includes the duty to safeguard it’s sporting value. That comes before individual advantage.”
Dalton also confirmed the nationality rule they had sign-posted months ago would be for the sailors only and would require only a percentage of the crew carry a passport from the competing country.
Source: NZ Herald
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