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Team NZ to Begin Sailing in January

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Nov. 4, 1996) — America's Cup winner Team New Zealand has announced that its two boats, NZL-32 and NZL-38, will be recommissioned and commence trialing in January, 1997. The program is expected to run for two or three months.

Part of the program will be to assess the differences between San Diego and Auckland, and the impact of these conditions on boat performance.

Skipper Russell Coutts is quoted as saying that the two boats are "obsolete."

"While they have a use for us to gain further knowledge, they are no longer race boats. Everyone should be able to design a boat now that is as fast as (1995 America's Cup winner) NZL-32," Coutts told the Sunday Star-Times.

"We must take an approach that will improve substantially on what we achieved last time design-wise. We must find gains because the challengers will be that much more focused this time around," Coutts said.

It has also been confirmed that American Doug Peterson will no longer be part of the TNZ design effort for the 2000 Defence. It is reported that Team New Zealand and Peterson could not agree on a contract, and he is expected to sign-up with a challenger group.

However, American Clay Oliver has been signed by the Kiwis to assist with VPP programs and tank analysis. He will return to New Zealand permanently before Christmas.

Russell Coutts competed in the Grand Prix 18-foot skiff series last weekend in Brisbane, Australia — his first outing this season in the 18s. He finished in 10th and 11th places in the races sailed. Australian Chris Nicholson, Skilled Engineering, was dominant in the heavy breezes, which forced the cancellation of two races. The races will be made up in Sydney this weekend. Coutts will next sail in the Auckland round of the GPS series on December 11, 12 and 14.

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This report is courtesy of sailing columnist Richard Gladwell in New Zealand and the Compuserve Sail Racing Forum, where the original article first appeared.

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