America’s Cup: Team New Zealand’s Quest for the Trilogy of Success

If the America’s Cup defenders, Team New Zealand, led by Grant Dalton and Peter Burling, win the sailing competition for Spain in October, they will demonstrate for the fifth time that their small nation can best the big nation challengers.  Can they again master the innovation, design, and teamwork required to triumph in the world’s most spectacular sailing event?

What is the history of New Zealand’s part in the America’s Cup competition?

In 1995, New Zealand not only won the America’s Cup for the first time, but it also became the first country besides the United States to win the grueling sailing duel since the race began in 1851. On that occasion, sailing commentator Peter Montgomery uttered the now-famous words, “The America’s Cup is now New Zealand’s Cup.” When New Zealand won the next race in 2000, he was able to declare, “The America’s Cup is still New Zealand’s cup!” The 37th America’s Cup challenge will play out off the coast of Barcelona between August and October. Team New Zealand, representing the New Zealand Yacht Squadron, is making no secret of its expectation of sailing off into the sunset with the “Auld Mug” for a fifth time.

How did Dalton’s approach revitalize Team New Zealand?

Dalton’s tenure as CEO since the early 2000s has been transformative. His extensive experience, including seven round-the-world races, has deeply influenced Team New Zealand’s strategic approach. Since taking the helm following the 2003 loss, Dalton has revitalized the team’s ethos, focusing on cutting-edge design and cohesive teamwork. This leadership has not only led to remarkable victories but has also instilled a belief in overcoming the odds, no matter the challenger’s size. Team New Zealand gears up for the defense in Barcelona. Dalton’s enduring legacy, coupled with Peter Burling’s exceptional skill as a skipper showcased in the championship’s 36th edition, sustains the team’s aspirations, driving them toward potentially another historic victory.


“The America’s Cup is still New Zealand’s cup!”

How did upstart New Zealand court controversy through innovation?

In 1987 New Zealand challenged convention with its first entry, building a fiberglass rather than, traditional, aluminum-hulled vessels dubbed the “Plastic Fantastic.” This resulted in an accusation of “cheating.” In the next race, New Zealand challenged America. New Zealand’s massive carbon-fiber monohull with wings, reshaped the design – from which America’s Cup Class yachts were born. Later, New Zealand was legally challenged when it built a vessel sporting an unusual double strut keel and no rudder, dubbed a “skiff on steroids.” In the 34th America’s Cup, Team New Zealand, always pushing the boundaries of innovation, was the first team to get their yacht up and out of the water on foils – virtually flying rather than sailing.