AMERICA'S CUP DEFENSE | ROYAL NEW ZEALAND YACHT SQUADRON
ABOUT NEW ZEALAND | CHART OF NEW ZEALAND | PHOTOS
At the center of America's Cup XXX will be the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, founded in 1859. It is located at the Weshaven Marina, near Auckland's central business district.
The squadron boasts some 2,500 members and has approximately 700 vessels on its register. It also has an annex at Kawau Island, located approximately 31 miles (50 km) north of Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf.
In addition to its local racing programs, the RNZYS has hosted a number of international regattas, including the One Ton Cup, stopovers during the Whitbread Round the World Race, and the annual Steinlager/Logan match-racing series. The squadron also has an extensive junior sailing program.
The America's Cup racing syndicate representing the RNZYS is Team New Zealand, which is headed by Sir Peter Blake, one of the most respected offshore sailors in the world. He was the manager of New Zealand's 1992 America's Cup challenge, which reached the final round of the challenger trials, and headed Team New Zealand's winning effort in 1995.
Blake also led New Zealand's Steinlager to victory in the 1989-1990 Whitbread Round the World Race, and in 1994 was awarded the Jules Verne Trophy after setting a new record for circumnavigating the globe under sail.
Russell Coutts is expected to return as the New Zealand skipper after leading the 1995 team to victory in San Diego. Coutts is one of the world's top skippers, winning the 1996 Brut Sailing Series in just three events, a two-time world match-racing champion, and an Olympic gold medalist.
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