AC Emirates Team New Zealand on track with key sponsor

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton made the big announcement on Wednesday that his team has secured Nespresso—a former Alinghi sponsor—as their fifth premium-level sponsor, thus ensuring that the team will be able to wage a full-on campaign for the 34th America’s Cup. 'We believe that we can mount a credible challenge that will have a very good chance of winning the America’s Cup,' said Dalton at the team’s press conference.

Emirates Team New Zealand announce their participation in the 33rd America's Cup and the signing of Nespresso as a sponsor, Nespresso branding on the ETNZ AC45. 21/4/2011

'As the longest-standing America’s Cup team, their experience, expertise and innovative mindset, driven by a fighting team spirit, is an inspiration for Nespresso and our employees,' said Richard Girardot, CEO Nestlé Nespresso S.A. 'We wish Grant Dalton and the Team much success.' Read the full story inside and check out’s video interview with Dalton, also inside.

On a more infamous note, Emirates Team New Zealand became the second team (to date; there will be more) to capsize an AC45 two days ago when they flipped their wingsail-powered turbo cat in Auckland. Thankfully no one was hurt and only minor damage was sustained to the wingsail. 'Every time we take the yacht out we test to the limits in the conditions prevailing, otherwise there’s no point to the testing process,' said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker.

In Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) circles, several big announcements have been made in recent days. On the hometown front, Puma Ocean Racing has announced that Arden Oksanen will serve as their Media Crew Member (MCM). Groupama has added even more firepower to their star-studded crew with the news that French soloist Thomas Colville (the famed solo skipper of the offshore maxi-trimaran, Sodebo, which just finished an ill-fated Jules Verne Trophy attempt) will be joining the team. 'I’ve dreamt about the Volvo Ocean Race since I was sixteen years of ages,' said Colville. 'It’s one of the most fascinating races for me.' Not to be outdone, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing announced some key positions, including Rob Greenhalgh (formerly of Puma) as a watch captain, Justin Ferris (also Puma alumni) as a helmsman-trimmer and onboard sailmaker, American Nick Dana, PUMA’s back-up MCM in the last race, as MCM, and Paul Willcox joins as an 'under-30' crewmember. 'We said we wanted to be highly competitive on all fronts; we are close to making good on that promise,' said Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’ skipper, Ian Walker. Read the full reports, in this issue.

Oracle Racing Technical Director Mike Drummond checks the wingsailed Optimist - Toyota Optimist Nationals 2011. Image: Nick Glanfield
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And being a Friday, your editor humbly suggests that you reward yourself with a few extra minutes of fun screen time and check out the world’s first wingsail-powered (drum roll please) Optimist. Interestingly, this rig was created and influenced by some of the best minds in the AC game, including Oracle Racing's Technical Director Mike Drummond. Check out the full story, inside.

May the four winds blow you safely home.