The Defender of the America's Cup, Team New Zealand, has posted an incredible record since 1995. This is the team Alinghi must beat to take the America's Cup to Europe.
Team New Zealand, the nominated Defender for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, has built a 47-1 record on the water since the start of the 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup season. Although this version of Team New Zealand is very different from the 2000 incarnation, there is still plenty of talent on board.
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