Team New Zealand will challenge for America’s Cup

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Team New Zealand will challenge for the America’s Cup in 2017.

Enough private sponsorship had been secured to make possible TNZ’s participation in the 35th America’s Cup, team chairman Keith Turner said in a statement June 25.

The announcement came little more than a week after TNZ general manager Grant Dalton warned the syndicate might close by the end of this month unless it received New Zealand government funding.

The government, which provided $36 million in taxpayer funding to the team’s last campaign, refused to inject more until all sponsorship options were pursued.

New Zealand lost to Oracle Team USA in the 2013 final in extraordinary circumstances, 9-8 after leading 8-1.

“The team has been working towards this moment almost since the day of the last race in San Francisco,” Dalton said. “The funding support for the team that has coalesced over the past week means we can continue the design and engineering development, and keep racing, until main sponsorship funds begin to flow.

“To avoid falling behind the opposition, our design and engineering team has been working on the software tools they will need for the challenge.”

Entries for the 35th Cup, which continues an event first contested in 1856, close Aug. 8.

New Zealand last held the Cup in 2003.

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