After many of the 2000 sailors left Team New Zealand, the burden of defending the America's Cup was picked up by Dean Barker, who skippered the final win in 2000, and Tom Schnackenberg, design guru, part-time navigator, and now the head of the syndicate.
TNZ Helmsman, Dean Barker
Without a Defender series, Team New Zealand has to find its competition from within, and the squad has been training relentlessly over the past two years, splitting time between testing and development and in-house racing.
French America's Cup skipper Bertrand Pace was brought on board to push Barker, and by all accounts, the in-house racing has been ferocious.
TNZ Retain the Cup in 2000 © Carlo Borlenghi
Over the years, Team New Zealand has been known for its revolutionary design developments, and this year isn't any different. For both NZL-81 and NZL-82, the design team has come up with what it calls the 'hula' for 'hull appendage'
But perhaps the strongest card Team New Zealand has to play is the massive local support behind the team. Barker, Schnackenberg, and the rest of the squad have said they're humbled by the amount of support they've been given, and no doubt the entire team is eager to repay that faith with another manic prizegiving ceremony in the Viaduct Basin.
Upwind in the Hauraki Gulf