A SPECTACULAR challenge has been thrown down for the America’s Cup fleet.

An event could feature Sir Ben Ainslie's British team taking on New Zealand's successful team in races off the Isle of Wight, according to reports coming from Auckland.

A challenge is believed to have been issued — and accepted — by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS).

Isle of Wight yachtsman Sir Ben leads the British Amercia's Cup entry, Ineos Team UK.

Before champagne bottles had even been emptied, after Emirates Team New Zealand were were crowned winners to retain the 36th America's Cup this week, reports immediately began to circulate in Auckland that the RNZYS had confirmed receipt of a new challenge, amid speculation a one-off defence may take place on The Solent next year.

Isle of Wight County Press: Sir Ben Ainslie, who skippers Ineos Team UK.Sir Ben Ainslie, who skippers Ineos Team UK.

Sir Ben Ainslie (above) and the Team Ineos boat (below)

Isle of Wight County Press: Ineos Team UK.Ineos Team UK.

Discussions are understood to have taken place between the commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, James Sheldon, and his counterpart of the RNZYC in Auckland.

The RNZYC's general manager, Hayden Porter, has confirmed the club had received a challenge, but was tight-lipped as to who it was from.

There is speculation Ainslie's Ineos Team UK would be in line to represent what is known as the 'Challenger of Record' in the next America's Cup.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ineos Team UK in Prada Cup action against the Italians.Ineos Team UK in Prada Cup action against the Italians.The County Press is awaiting a statement from Mr Sheldon.

Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, was delighted, but cautious about the news.

He said: "I am aware of the rumours that the America’s Cup maybe coming to Cowes in the second half of next year. I hope it is. It is only a rumour and the situation may change.

"New Zealand have the right to host. Let’s wait and see. I know that our sailing ‘ambassadors’ in New Zealand have been representing the Island extremely well.

“However, clearly I would be extremely supportive of the America’s Cup coming here. I have made the Sports Minster aware of the rumour and Isle of Wight Council leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, and I have also discussed it.  

“If there is an intention to bring the America’s Cup to The Solent and the Island, we should collectively welcome it and work to make it a great success and a showcase for the Island.”