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Coutts backing the next generation of Kiwi Cup sailors

Published: 4:45PM Saturday November 30, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

The greatest America's Cup sailor of all time has identified the future of the Auld Mug - it's young, it's a Kiwi and he likes what he sees.

Five-time New Zealand Sailor of the Year award winner, Sir Russell Coutts, presented this year's award and speaks glowingly of the joint winners.

"These guys, I think they have been winning for a while now, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, fantastic representatives and fully deserved," Coutts told ONE Sport at the award presentation in Auckland on Friday.

The Olympic silver medallists added World and European Championships to an already impressive resume, edging out two other world champion crews to take the trophy.

"It's fantastic. I mean, really, these young sailors are actually amazing," Coutts said of their feats.

"Particularly with the limited resources they have got and they are competing on the world stage and winning." 

The strength and depth of New Zealand yachting has been emphasised by Burling and Tuke twice sharing the podium in Kiwi one-two wins at the World Championships, and at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, the conduit created for the next generation of Cup sailors.

"Some of the young talent here tonight should be involved. They should be leading the charge, frankly," Coutts said.

A potential scenario sees Burling and Tuke in a second Team New Zealand AC45 for a future America's Cup World Series, and with variety part of the new generation's success, the pair are both comfortable in all sailing craft.

"It's one of the great things about this country you kind of get brought up trying different boats and different things and learning different things off different people," Burling said. 

"The way the Am Cup has moved it's more like sailing small boats and you are seeing a lot of these young sailors coming through, and really the talents are transferable almost immediately which is fantastic for them," Coutts said.

Also fantastic for them, receiving New Zealand's top trophy from the most successful Cup skipper of all.