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America's Cup: Emirates Team New Zealand waiting in the wings

'Grant Dalton speaking after the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland earlier this year'    © Richard Gladwell    Click Here to view large photo

Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, is eager to return to the America's Cup game. His team came up just short in the 32nd Match against the defender Alinghi team during the 2007 Valencia event, and he would like to see his team get another bite of the apple.

Last week he met with Marin Independent Journal sailing columnist Michelle Slade in Auckland, NZL to offer his perspective on the plans for the 34th America's Cup:

Slade: Update me on Emirate Team NZ's position re AC34:

Dalton: Without any venue named we can't raise a cent because it doesn't necessarily change all your sponsors - some can run across the States and/or Europe. An easy example - one of our major sponsors last time was Estrella Damm - a Spanish beer company. If it's in San Francisco, Estrella aren't on that side and for us that was a lot of money. So, I can't really move or make a decision until I have a venue.

Slade: Is there one venue over another that is easier for you?

Dalton: Better, easier, nicer, more preferred in every other way is San Francisco - we'd far prefer San Francisco. It makes no sense to me that an American defender would even contemplate taking the Cup to Europe. It doesn't make any sense.

Slade: Do you think the next event will be less costly to competitors?

Dalton: Absolutely not. Sir Keith Mills (GBR) is the only guy who has put his hand up and said what's real. It's not even close to cheap. It's just a PR line. Of course you can make it cheap. If BMW Oracle Racing decide to sell designs because it is in the Rule, they could start basically giving them away to teams so they had literally a stock design. They won't win but the event numbers will be bolstered but that is not why Emirates Team NZ would ever play the game. Like Mills decided, I'm going to play this game to win, not to compete. To be in it to win is not cheap, it is not even close to cheap.

Slade: Your thoughts on a nationality rule for the future?

Dalton: We are absolutely for it - and you can argue for simple gain of our own - but we believe it should be a nation against nation event. It makes more sense, people can relate. They cannot relate to - in this country - guys on the team who are not kiwis. Why can't they be kiwis? They could be Americans and I think Americans would relate. The reason that it went away from any nationality is because it didn't suit (Ernesto) Bertarelli - there aren't a lot of Swiss yachties. It didn't work - it was convenient for him.

Complete interview See Marin Independent Journal?nid=76471




by Michelle Slade

  

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11:31 AM Tue 2 Nov 2010 GMT






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