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Nathan Outteridge to return to the America’s Cup after signing with Emirates Team New Zealand
Signing part of 'Emirates Team New Zealand’s approach to continually get stronger' says COO Kevin Shoebridge
America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand have confirmed that Australian Olympic gold and silver medallist Nathan Outteridge has signed with the team to help bolster their Defence attempt during AC37, expected to be in 2024 at a yet to be decided venue.
Outteridge – who lives in Auckland with his wife and young child – won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the 49er class alongside crewmate Iain Jensen.
Taking the silver medal back then was the Kiwi duo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. The Kiwis who went on to turn the tables on the Outteridge and Jensen at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil before.
Outteridge skippered the Swedish entry Artemis Racing in the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco and at the 35th edition in Bermuda, when Burling and Tuke spearheaded an Emirates Team New Zealand victory.
With Artemis choosing not to mount a challenge for the 36th America’s Cup Outteridge was snapped up by the organisers as an expert TV pundit and commentator for the regatta which saw a Burling and Tuke Defend the Cup with ETNZ.
Outteridge excelled in his new media role but most people – including him – would have preferred he was behind the wheel of one of the revolutionary new AC75 foiling monohulls doing battle daily out on the Hauraki Gulf.
The Australian sailor was also integral in the creation of Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts’ SailGP global sailing league.
As well as helping to hone the technical aspects of the F50 foiling catamarans which were adapted from the AC50s previously used in the 35th America’s Cup, for the opening two seasons he has skippered the highly successful Japanese team on the high-performance international circuit.
Outteridge’s move to the New Zealand Defender is huge America’s Cup news – both for the team and the individual sailor. It ends months of speculation as to which team would have the gravitational pull to land one of the very brightest stars in the America’s Cup firmament.
It is a major a coup – even for a team with the pedigree of Emirates Team New Zealand.
As well as securing Outteridge’s skills and smarts solely for themselves, they have also prevented having him boost the potential of any of their British, American, Italian, and possibly Swiss rivals – all which must surely have had meaningful conversations with the young Aussie over recent months.
“Obviously we are pleased to have secured Nathan to join the sailing team for the 37th America’s Cup,” was the typically understated official comment from the Kiwi syndicate’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Shoebridge.
Outteridge’s commitment to the America’s Cup holders comes at a time when media speculation is rife as to whether Burling and Tuke will ultimately race the next Cup in ETNZ uniforms. The pair are reportedly yet to resign contracts with the team and have cited concerns over the possibility of AC37 being hosted in Saudi Arabia.
Whether bringing in Outteridge is a deliberate negotiation tactic or a safe and sensible strategical long-term play from Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton, is utterly impossible to say from the outside the room. Either way, it clearly swings the balance of power back towards the team while appearing to weaken the position of the two young Kiwi sailors.
Is it so hard though to imagine a third way where Burling and Outteridge race together as part of a dual helmsman setup aboard the next Kiwi AC75?
It’s even easier to imagine the fireworks that would ensue if the team set the two helmsmen against each in a match racing series to decide who would helm at the 37th America’s Cup. Selling the TV rights to that one could be easier than for the America’s Cup itself.
The experienced and implacable Shoebridge maintained a poker face through the rest of his statement, giving absolutely nothing away regarding how Outteridge might be deployed within the team.
“Emirates Team New Zealand’s approach is to continually get stronger, so with him [Outteridge] joining the likes of Pete, Blair, Glenn [Ashby], Josh [Junior], Andy [Maloney], etc you cannot have too much talent and he will compliment this group well.
“His experience and knowledge in high performance foiling boats can only benefit Emirates Team New Zealand and AC37 campaign and we are looking forward to him joining the rest of the team,” Shoebridge concluded.
Whatever his role turns out to be, a bright future surely lies ahead for Nathan Outteridge with Emirates Team New Zealand. It’s good news for all America’s Cup fans and very well deserved.
Congratulations Nathan – it’s good to have you back in the Cup.