America's Cup: Former Team New Zealand coach Joey Allen believes Alinghi will be a strong challenger

America's Cup: Former Team New Zealand coach Joey Allen believes Alinghi will be a strong challenger

Former Team New Zealand sailor and coach Joey Allen believes Alinghi could be a major force at the next America’s Cup.

Alinghi, Team NZ’s old nemesis, will make a return for the 37th America’s Cup after an 11-year absence.

As first reported by the Herald, the Swiss syndicate – owned by billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli – has paid the initial $1.47 million entry fee for the next edition of the event.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking, Allen said the return of Alinghi makes the next America’s Cup even more intriguing.

“These guys are very serious and they do things very well. I think it just says that the event is going to be a hell of a lot better than the last one. This is a very, very credible challenger,” Allen said.

“They’ve got the money and Ernesto really has proven he’s a very clever and good yachtsman.”

Alinghi famously won the Cup for the first time in 2003, sweeping Defender Team NZ 5-0 in the Cup match, and successfully defended the Auld Mug in Valencia in 2007.

America's Cup: Former Team New Zealand coach Joey Allen believes Alinghi will be a strong challenger

Former Team New Zealand coach Joey Allen during the 2003 America's Cup, won by Alinghi. Photo / Photosport

Allen, who coached Team NZ in 2003 and 2007, said Alinghi’s involvement could encourage others to join the Cup, and warned the Defender’s former rivals will be serious contenders for the title.

“The fact that they’re coming says that the event is worth getting involved in. He (Bertarelli) wouldn’t be coming if he didn’t think he could win it. That’s the reason they’re getting involved. They want that America’s Cup badly.”

Confirmation of Alinghi’s entry and commitment for the 2024 regatta will be a boost for Team NZ and Challenger of Record Ineos Britannia, who have released the protocol but have not yet finalised the venue.

Cork in Ireland, Valencia in Spain and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia have long been talked about as the three overseas bidders while an Auckland defence has still not been ruled out.

Allen believes an Auckland home defence is still possible if all parties involved work together to stage the Cup in New Zealand, which he said is the preferable outcome for all involved.

There has also been suggestion that a potential New York entry could be lost if the Cup does head to Saudi Arabia.

“I don’t understand what’s going on,” Allen said. “I don’t think anyone wants to go to Saudi Arabia and compete probably. The big question now is why.”

It’s believed another syndicate has also paid the initial entry fee for AC37, while American Magic has also signalled its intention to be on the start line.

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