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PJ Montgomery predicts big changes to all challenger boats - NZME

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The "voice of the America’s Cup" PJ Montgomery predicts big changes to all challenger boats for the PRADA 36th America’s Cup challenger series

The speed and performance of the 36th America’s Cup challenger boats will have all stepped up significantly according to pre-eminent yachting commentator Peter ‘PJ’ Montgomery.

Speaking ahead of the PRADA Challenger Series round-robin tomorrow, Montgomery says all of the campaigns have been busy making big changes to their boats since the PRADA America’s Cup World Series wrapped up before Christmas (NOTE: see below for full transcript).

"These are significant changes too. They’ve made changes to a variety of things from their foils to the sails to all sorts of other things in the way these boats are set up. And they’ve had to - because they are now playing for keeps," said Montgomery.

The soon to be America’s Cup "hall of famer" said all three challengers, American Magic, Luna Rossa and Ineos Team UK are desperate to be on top of the table at the end of the PRADA round robin because of the huge advantage it’ll deliver them.

"The crew that ends up on top of the round robin goes straight through to challenger final. That boat will have a huge advantage because that means that one: they will know who their competition is and two: they will have more time to make other changes and improvements before they go into the challenger final," said Montgomery.

"PJ" Montgomery, has become synonymous with the world’s oldest international sports event since delivering his live commentary of an America's Cup race involving a New Zealand boat in 1986. "PJ" is once again behind the microphone anchoring live radio commentary for the 36th America’s Cup across Gold AM, Newstalk ZB and iHeartRadio.

Montgomery says so far, the 2021 event hasn’t thrown up too many surprises, but he has singled out America Magic for some high praise.

Montgomery: "America Magic was first here, and their work ethic has been second to none. They have worked really hard and certainly the afterguard led by Dean Barker has worked incredibly hard on their starts and it shows really in all of the starts they have had so far."

As for the defender, Montgomery said sources have told him Team New Zealand has "a lot of good stuff to come yet", but he warned of the quickly improving challengers and the Kiwis need to improve their starts.

"We know that certainly Team New Zealand have to improve their starting and quickly. Because in these short races, unlike the longer form racing here in Auckland last go and in Valencia in ’07 a good start is crucial.

"Just having a great boat is one thing. Putting it in the right spot is another thing altogether," said Montgomery.

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