TODAY |

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling now chief executives of a new professional Kiwi sailing team

The Olympic gold medallists, 49er world champions and America's Cup victors are following in the footsteps of Sir Russell Coutts by taking charge of the newly launched New Zealand SailGP team.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The pair are following in the steps of one of our greatest ever sailors. Source: 1 NEWS

“This is a great opportunity to give us a bit more of a shore role than just the sailing roles we normally take on,” Burling said.

The team is set to compete in the second season of Kiwi yachting legend Sir Russell’s professional series next year.

“This is going to be a great thing for New Zealand sailing in general," Tuke said. "It will open up some pathways for young sailors to come through and for us personally to be racing a boat under the Kiwi flag."

For years, Sir Russell has hoped for a Kiwi boat to join his brainchild competition, which features rival nations battling it out around the world on 50-foot catamarans.

“I think it's fantastic," he said. "You know, there’s so much young sailing talent in New Zealand now, and boats are predicted to do 53 or 54 knots, which is just insane."

That's more than 100 kilometres an hour, meaning more life in the fast lane for Burling and Tuke, who're eyeing up three major events in the first six months of next year.

“Do you look at them and think, 'Wow, how do they do it?' America's Cup, SailGP, Olympics, they have a really busy schedule,” Sir Russell said.

“In truth, they're in a different league - they really are. And I think they've shown in the past that they're able to do these multiple formats and win.”