Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 4
Monday September 6
New Zealand Herald
America's Cup could stay - if Dalton leaves Team NZ, claims rich-lister
An influential rich-lister claims he has donors lined up to fund a New Zealand-hosted defence of the America's Cup - but only if Grant Dalton steps down – Carolyne Meng-Yee.
Mark Dunphy, CEO and chairman of Greymouth petroleum, is behind a last-ditch bid to stop the 2024 regatta heading overseas - it would be the first time that NZ surrenders the defence of the Auld Mug in its own waters.
Team NZ says it has no choice but to look overseas due to lack of funding - Cork in Ireland, Valencia in Spain, and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia are all bidding to host the event.
A decision on whether the regatta will be held overseas will be made on September 17.
Dunphy claims there has been "no genuine attempt" by Team NZ to raise the money privately.
"The potential donors I have spoken to have had no contact from Team NZ, but I am confident they will assist with the funding of the defence," the rich-lister told the Herald.
Dunphy says he met with America's Cup hosts the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and held preliminary talks with Team NZ.
However, any goodwill between the parties appears to have disintegrated.
Team NZ told the Herald it was unaware of any potential donors, said Dunphy had displayed a "strange" lack of direct engagement despite being asked for a funding proposal and described Dunphy's interest as "nothing more than a corporate takeover" of Team NZ.
Grant Dalton v Mark Dunphy: 'Money alone doesn't win America's Cup'
OPINION: During the 30 years I have worked on the America’s Cup there have been three Kiwis who have stood head and shoulders above everyone else involved in this, the oldest international sports trophy in the world - Sir Peter Blake, Sir Russell Coutts and Grant Dalton – writes Sir Ian Taylor, head of Animation Research, the leading New Zealand company which delivers the groundbreaking America's Cup TV graphics.
All of them were world-class sailors and proven leaders on the water.
One of them, Grant Dalton, had to pick up the pieces after the debacle of 2003 brought about by the departure of key members of Sir Peter’s successful team to a global rich-lister called Ernesto Bertarelli of Switzerland.
Over 17 years Grant has rebuilt that team to a stage where it now stands on the verge of a three-peat – AC35, 36 and 37 – a feat not achieved by any team since Australia took the Cup in 1983, and something that would not even be on the cards were it not for the bloody mindedness and leadership of Dalton.
Mark Dunphy was nowhere in sight back in 2015-16 when the government pulled its funding from Team New Zealand for the Bermuda challenge after Coutts pulled out of an agreement to hold the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series in Auckland.
The press release announcing the closure of Team New Zealand had already been written when Dalton, with the backing of Sir Stephen Tindall and Matteo De Nora, set out around the world to scrape together the funds to keep the team alive. Dalton managed that task, up against all the odds, and the rest is history.
With next to no government funding Team New Zealand brought the Auld Mug home and then staged what was the most viewed America’s Cup ever here on the Waitematā.
Without the sheer determination of Dalton, and the support of Tindall and De Nora, the team would have shut down in 2016.
There would have been no defence in 2021, no foiling monohull, and no showcase for the innovative, out of the box, Kiwi thinking that saw us retain the Cup in a boat that flew.
America's Cup: Private backers say Grant Dalton can stay in $80m defence offer
Wealthy private wealthy backers hoping to keep the next America’s Cup defence in New Zealand waters say they no longer require the departure of Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton – writes Todd Niall.
Greymouth Petroleum’s Mark Dunphy said $80 million is available to add to the Government and Auckland Council’s $100 million offer, which the team deemed insufficient to keep the regatta here.
“The elephant in the room now is, does the team want to defend at home or does it prefer to go overseas,” Dunphy said.
Other previous elements of private support, such as challenging private funding through an Auckland Council charitable trust, had also been dropped, he said.
He wouldn't outline all the details of the new proposal, which not yet gone in writing to Team New Zealand, or to the club it represents under contract, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
“I want to get the deal done, there's not enough time to be batting back and forth – I’m confident we will get there,” he said.
Yacht Racing Life
Can the new Class 30 One Design restart offshore club racing?
There is exciting news this week of a newly commissioned design for a non-foiling 30-foot fully crewed offshore racer aimed at reigniting international club level interest in offshore racing – particularly amongst younger mixed sex crews.
The world’s three major offshore racing organisations – France’s Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), Britain’s Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), and the US Storm Trysail Club – announced the Class 30 design competition back in April 2020.
The competition’s key criteria were for a 9.0 to 9.6-metre one-design yacht, with a fun, modern and stable eco-design concept, that could be sailed by a crew of five or six people on multi-day races. A key tenet of the new design was a final budget that would be affordable to the majority of sailing and yacht clubs around the world.
Other key features of the new design were:
• A boat that is great to sail while seated comfortably at the helm or out on the rail, on a hull which is not too wet, with a large cockpit for carrying out manoeuvres in crewed format
• A powerful and versatile hull for a boat which is evolutionary on every point of sail
• A light, effective and accessible deck layout to prioritise dynamic trimming and favour learning within crewed sailing
• Significant focus on eco-design, with the overall consideration of the construction as well as the uses and manner of sailing
Designers were required to come up with two versions of their designs: a Class 30 Club edition with a particularly competitive ready-to-sail introductory price; and the full Class 30 One Design – featuring a carbon mast, upgraded electronics, and other performance enhancing features – geared towards owners keen to race in a one-design or IRC category.
Tip & Shaft
Francois Gabart: SVR Lazartigue has a huge development potential
Tip & Shaft: Since SVR Lazartigue was launched, how much have you been able to sail and in what range of conditions?
Francois Gabart: We have sailed six times making a total of almost 2,000 miles that is including twice for two nights at sea. On the second of these we had 25-30 knots for an hour with a swell of about 3 metres otherwise the vast majority of the time it was between 10 and 25 knots.
The difficulty when you discover such a boat is that you have to step things up gradually but you still push it, you still test it. Especially since from a purely contractual point of view the sale [of Macif to the Kresk group, Editor's note] is effective from today [the interview took place on Wednesday, Editor's note] and could not be validated until after this testing period.
For insurance reasons we were confined to a restricted area and we couldn't go out in, say, 50 knots of wind. But it was fine enough to get to know the boat and if there were any parts that might break because they were not so well conceived, designed or built, it was best it happened there.
But really we had few breakages at all and really no major problems, which is always reassuring, because when you put a new boat in the water, you are never 100 per cent sure. Of course that doesn't mean we'll never have any problems, there is still a lot of work to do for the boat's long-term reliability.
Tip & Shaft: Who have you sailed with?
Francois Gabart: Tom (Laperche) did almost all the sailing so far and of course there was our technical team, the designers and the sail and rig people but also external guys like Pascal Bidégorry who of course is historically very close to the project and is part of the 11th Hour Racing team which includes Charlie Enright and Mark Towill.
Tip & Shaft: What were your first impressions?
Francois Gabart: This boat has extraordinary potential, but there is a lot of work to take advantage of it, to find the settings and to make everything reliable. This week I was discussing with Nicolas Goyard, the iQFoil world champion that when we see the performance gaps in that fleet, of the order of 10 to 15%, that they manage to generate compared to their competitors in a relatively one-design class, you can see that simply with different settings, the performance differences are proportionately greater.
So imagine what it can be like on our boats which are extremely complex prototypes - I couldn't tell you the number of combinations of settings that exist between the different configurations of sails and all the on-board systems.
Suffice to say there is enormous potential for development, I admit the challenge is very exciting, I find the sensations similar to those I experienced when I started off in ocean racing or during my first trips on M100 (the old Macif) in 2015.
Tip & Shaft: What struck you the most during this first month of sailing?
Two things: the surface and shape of the appendages mean that the boat not only has the ability to fly fast enough, but when there is a seaway they work like being on shock absorbers.
This ability of the foils, rudders and daggerboard to cushion the boat in difficult seas, even upwind, is quite impressive and very encouraging, because the sea remains the biggest blocker for the performance of these boats today.
Shirley Robertson’s Sailing Podcast Glenn Ashby
This month's edition of the podcast sees Shirley Robertson talk to one of the modern America's Cup era's most influential sailors as she interviews Australian Glenn Ashby.
An integral part of Emirates Team New Zealand, Ashby has just won his third America's Cup, and talked to Robertson after celebrating the team's successful defence in March 2021.
Like many of Robertson's guests, Ashby reveals that his early life in sailing saw him working in a sail loft, having left school at the age of sixteen, but by then he had already made a name for himself out on the water.
Growing up sailing on a lake in Bendigo, Victoria, the first time Ashby sailed on the sea was at eleven years old, in a regatta that saw him become junior state champion. From there, only a potential career racing motorbikes was going to stop the young Ashby becoming a professional sailor - motor sport lost the battle, for the teenage Ashby, Europe was calling.