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Burling and Tuke: "2021 will be busy!"

by Tip and Shaft 1 Oct 2020 18:10 NZDT
Blair Tuke, Peter Burling and Russell Coutts at the NZSailGP launch © NZSailGP

New Zealand’s hottest sailing duo, Olympic gold medallists and America’s Cup winners, Pete Burling and Blair Tuke are the latest big ‘box office’ signing for SailGP. As Co-CEO’s of New Zealand SailGP they will put together a Kiwi crew – entirely separate and independent of Emirates Team New Zealand – for what will effectively be SailGP’s Season 2 starting in April. Campaigning to defend their 49er Olympic title in Tokyo next year, the pair look set to have a busy, carefully structured 2021. But before all that there is the matter of the America’s Cup defence in home waters. Tip & Shaft spoke to Pete and Blair this week…

First off, why SailGP? Pete: I think that in the first season of SailGP we watched on from the sidelines like everyone else and from our involvement in the America’s Cup and especially the more recent one in Bermuda we had a relationship with Russell and we also did the Youth America’s Cup before that, it seemed like a really good opportunity to get a New Zealand boat into the League.

Who asked who? Pete: It was both ways. We were chatting a lot to Russell a lot over the years about how it was all unfolding and keeping our fingers on the pulse. I can’t recall how it went in terms of who asked who, but COVID brought us a change in the sporting calendar and gave us the opportunity to try and fit it in and so we are really excited by the opportunity.

This will give you quite a demanding schedule next year, how does it fit together? Blair: Going ahead it is full focus on the America’s Cup until March. We have the Olympics which we are still planning for full-on for July August and SailGP kicks off Mid April in San Francisco so that is the first event we are looking at at the moment and that can take us to between and ten different places around the world. It will be a busy next year but we have put a lot of thought into it, but we are really excited about the opportunities that are in front of us.

Check out the full story in Tip and Shafts latest newsletter.

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