First positive signs for a New Zealand America's Cup Challenge seem to have emerged in France with the reputable French sailing magazine Voiles et Voilers reporting that Team New Zealand have signed a group of top multihull designers to augment the existing Team NZ design team.
The publication says that the the designer Guillaume Verdier and his three regular 'collaborators' Herve Penformis, Benjamin Muyl and Romaric Neyhousser have joined the team, but will still be based in France.
The four designers and engineers of the Verdier team have worked together on the Hydraplaneur of Yves Parlier, then on Multi 50 Actual of Yves Blévec.
A Team New Zealand spokesman would not confirm the French report, except to say that the team was casting its net wide to attract the best suitable talent to mount a credible America's Cup Challenge in a multihull environment.
Others have reported to Sail-World that Team NZ have been talking to members of the Alinghi team.
The announcement of top lawyer and sailor, Jim Farmer, a long time Team NZ associate, as a member of America's Cup Race Management is also seen as a very positive and significant sign for the team.
The news from France, was the first positive news of a group proceeding positively for the 34th America's Cup, after TeamOrigin and Team Germany announced they would not be challenging, and Azzurra (ITA) have indicated they probably will not either.
Emirates Team New Zealand are widely regarded as the best monohull sailing team in the world, and along with their previous rendition (New Zealand Challenge), have reached the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup in every multi challenger America's Cup starting at Fremantle and have won the America's Cup trophy twice. They were Challenger in the 32nd America's Cup in Valencia.
Team CEO, Grant Dalton is no stranger to large multihull sailing having won the Jules Verne Trophy for the round the world speed record in the 120ft catamaran Club Med.
This weekend regular skipper Dean Barker will be competing in the Extreme 40 catamaran event assisted by double Olympic Silver medalist and multiple World Champion in the Tornado class, Darren Bundock (Australia).