Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton spoke with Sail-World's NZ Editor after the sponsorship announcement today.
Key points from the interview included the confirmation that Emirates Team NZ was definitely in the 34th America's Cup for the full campaign and with a raft of five sponsors - Toyota, Omega, NZ Economic Development, Nespresso and Emirates Airlines. 'We've made it', he told Sail-World 'I didn't think we would'. One more sponsorship spot remains with the team, however they are in a position where they can go forward.
In discussing the controversial contract with NZ Economic Development, Dalton confirmed that the clause remained requiring the America's Cup to be staged in New Zealand if the team were successful in their 2013 Challenge. That steps the event away from the six month venue bidding process which was started by Alinghi for 2007 and continued by Oracle Racing for the 2013 America's Cup.
Dalton confirmed that the team will continue to compete in the Extreme 40 series, noting that in their view they were disappointed that the AC45 competitors are relatively weak. 'That makes the Extreme 40 even more important', he added. When he AC72 comes on stream then team will drop the Extreme 40's and concentrate on the bigger boat.
Emirates Team NZ will only buy one AC45 yacht, claiming that their budgets can't stretch to a second.
A 30 strong design team has been announced, who have been working for Emirates Team New Zealand since October, some of these are not currently based in New Zealand, but will all be working from New Zealand in the near future.
Commenting on the logistics of sailing the wingsailed catamarans, Dalton said he though everyone was being lulled into a false sense of security around the AC45's, noting that to get the AC72's into the water would require a 'full sized building crane'. 'That's ridiculous', he added, 'but we have to live with it'.
Dalton didn't see too much changing in the crews for the boats, making specific comment on the contribution of BMW Oracle racing coach, Glenn Ashby. While Emirates Team NZ will be sticking with many of their crew from the 2007 campaign (and it seems that world champion rower and Olympic Gold medalist Rob Waddell will be aboard) he says of the Defender Oracle racing crew, 'it's quite ironic, they're all old. Our grinders like Rob Waddell, are very good athletes. Our guys aren't changing. But just look at Oracle with all their old guys on board.'
For the full interview see the clip below (apologies for the soft audio quality on the questions), but the answers are fine.