First recruits to Emirates Team New Zealand
Emirates Team New Zealand has signed London 2012 Olympic 49er silver medalists, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
The 2013 49er World Champions won the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailed in AC45s at San Francisco last year. Last weekend they won the New Zealand 49er Championship.
Emirates Team New Zealand Managing Director Grant Dalton said the team needs to bring young New Zealand sailors up through the ranks if it is to stay at the forefront of international sailing. “Peter and Blair have performed with distinction internationally and have earned the chance to sail with us.”
They will combine the America’s Cup campaign with their Olympic bid to win gold in the 49er at Rio 2016.
Dalton said the team will race two AC45s at world series events in 2015 and 2016. The America’s Cup World Series fits neatly into their Olympic campaign. Team New Zealand is also expected to join the Extreme Sailing Series this year.
“They are well aware that the transition from Olympic sailing and making their own decisions to being part of a large, structured sailing team will not be easy," Dalton continued. "Their job will be to soak up the knowledge and the experience within the team and push hard for a place on the America’s Cup boat.”
Peter Burling said he was “really proud and excited to be joining Emirates Team New Zealand. I know a lot of team members from our Youth America’s Cup campaign last year and it is great to be joining such a united, focused team.
“It will be a massive challenge to balance doing an Olympic campaign and this campaign, but I believe our Olympic plan is solid with a great team around us.
“I am really looking forward to helping Emirates Team New Zealand bring the Cup back to NZ.”
Blair Tuke added: “To be able to combine America’s cup sailing with our Olympic campaign is fantastic – our expectation is that sailing at the highest level in our 49er as well as with Emirates Team New Zealand will complement each other and make us stronger at both types of sailing.”