Team NZ boat via Getty
Team NZ boat via Getty

Lloyd Burr: What’s going on with Team New Zealand?

Opinion 27/10/2021

OPINION: In 2003, when I was in fifth form at Tauranga Boys’ College, my pencil case had ‘I hate Russel Coutts’ on it. 

It also had an expletive about Brad Butterworth. 

Both men had won the America’s Cup for Switzerland’s Alinghi in January of that year. There were other Kiwis who were part of the team too, all of whom had absconded from Team New Zealand in 2000. 

Boy was I furious. I was so angry that these kiwis had turned their backs on our country and followed the money trail. 

And ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with the America’s Cup. Obsessed with making sure the Cup came home.

So how great was it in 2017 that a dude from Tauranga Boys’ College - Peter Burling - was at the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand in Bermuda, when they won. 

How great was it that he was at the helm last year in Auckland when the team successfully defended it. 

But something doesn’t feel right at the moment. 

I sense something is brewing at Team New Zealand. 

The team hasn’t signed up Peter Burling yet for the next defence. 

The team hasn’t signed up Blair Tuke yet either. 

The team hasn’t agreed on a location for the next Cup. 

There have been headlines about “forces” trying to undermine the team. 

There was the public falling out with businessman and fan Mark Dunphy. 

So what is going on? 

What’s happening with the team? 

Why haven’t vital talent like Burling and Tuke been re-signed for Team New Zealand? 

What’s their hesitation? Are they about to be poached just like Ernesto Berterelli poached Coutts and Butterworth? 

These are matters of national importance. 

I’m no soothsayer, but it feels like dejavu. And if the feeling in my waters is right, my America’s Cup heart is about to be broken. Again. 

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