A Dutch entry has become the sixth challenger bidding to take on Team New Zealand in the 2021 America's Cup.
The joint Royal Netherlands Yacht Club Muiden and Royal Maas Yacht Club syndicate will take on five rivals in the battle to race the Kiwis for the historic trophy, known as the Auld Mug.
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The total of seven teams in Auckland would be the most to compete in the event since the 32nd America's Cup in 2007 in Valencia.
The announcement comes shortly after a second US challenger "Stars & Stripes" declared its intention to compete. An entry from the Royal Malta Yacht Club was also accepted recently, alongside American Magic, Italy's Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK, bankrolled by Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe.
"The reality is, the more teams that race in the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series, the greater the spectacle on the water and the better the economic return off the water for Auckland and New Zealand," said a statement from Team New Zealand.
Emirates Team New Zealand beat Larry Ellisson's Oracle Team USA to win the Cup in Bermuda 2017.
'Can't buy time'
The radical and unproven AC75 boats, developed by Emirates Team New Zealand in close conjunction with principle challenger Luna Rossa, will push the designers to their limits as they strive to come up with the fastest hull shapes and foil packages in line with the class rules. Each team can build two, with the first to be launched no sooner than March 31, 2019.
With the America's Cup set to begin on March 6, 2021, and with a number of warm-up regattas and the Prada Cup to determine the sole challenger to take on the Kiwis before that, the clock is ticking.
"You can have as much money as you want but you can't buy time," said Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena at a news conference in Cowes, England in September.
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