The return of the greatest team you’ve never heard of

(CNN) — It is arguably the greatest team you’ve never heard of.

Undefeated between 1851 and 1983, it successfully defended the oldest trophy in sport no less than 24 times — a feat often recognized as the longest winning streak in sports history.

That team is the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) and this year it has returned to the America’s Cup for the first time in 15 years.

The next edition of sailing’s most coveted trophy doesn’t take place until 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand, but the team has entered this year’s TP52 World Championship, considered one of the highlights of the sailing season and an excellent training opportunity for the America’s Cup.

The NYYC is the official challenging club of new syndicate American Magic, which will compete in the challenger series for the right to take on defender Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup.

CNN Mainsail met some of the team’s stars to talk about the impact its return will have on the renowned competition.

“It’s very important (the return),” American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson tells CNN. “For [defender] Team New Zealand it gives the event a lot of credibility.

“The club’s long tenure in the event and then the 15-year hiatus, bringing the club back into the event in a lot of people’s minds legitimizes it.”

Hutchinson contacted Dean Barker, an experienced Kiwi sailor who has been involved with the America’s Cup since 1995, and asked him to become American Magic’s helmsman.

“I was really thrilled to get the call,” Barker told CNN. “I’ve been talking to Terry a lot as things developed after Bermuda (the previous America’s Cup) and the fire still burns pretty deeply to be involved.

“To have the chance to be part of a new team like America Magic is very cool. With the people involved, a very strong design group, and as the team assembles it’s all looking like it going be a strong contender.”

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