Sail-World New Zealand- May 6, 2014 - A Week of Change
by . on 6 May 2014
Welcome to Sail-World.com New Zealand for May 6, 2014
Emirates Team New Zealand, Dayu 4 of the Land Rover Extreme Sailing Series regatta in Qin4/5/2014 Chris Cameron/ETNZ© http://www.chriscameron.co.nz
They say a week is a long time in politics, but on the international sailing scene, the one just gone has been even more so.
Mid-last week it seemed that Emirates Team NZ was set to enter the Volvo Ocean Race.
The pin was pulled on that deal, late Friday afternoon – in line with our information out of Europe.
There has been no comment from Volvo Ocean Race management in line with their policy of not commenting on who is not competing. But equally, as yet, there has been no comment on what is happening with the two remaining boats that are awaiting teams. VOR management says they are continuing to talk with two teams.
The point remains that the race needs a marque team of the ilk of a Groupama, Puma or Camper.
The move by Emirates Team NZ is surprising, as it is the first time they have walked away from a race – particularly when they have been so close to getting the deal across the line.
In the past, there has been a commitment and then a push to raise more money to close the gap – but not this time.
Even more surprising when Grant Dalton said that the gap was only 10%.
In this edition we have more detail on his decision.
While Team NZ was pulling back from the Volvo Ocean Race in Auckland, their new afterguard combination were getting a run in Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series.
After an indifferent start, Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and friends more than held up their end, sailing well under pressure, and kept the team in third place overall.
We have full coverage of the racing in Qingdao, including daily updates from Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) who is tactician aboard series leader Alinghi.
The racing was overshadowed by a spectacular collision on the final day between Alinghi and Red Bull, catch the video in this edition.
On Saturday we spoke at length with Iain Murray, the CEO of Team Australia and Commodore of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club. The former America’s Cup Regatta Director is now charged with negotiating the Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup with Defenders Oracle Team USA.
Although Murray did not say so, we suspect that much of the delay in cutting a deal has been spent in getting the Cup off its course of the past decade, where the Defender progressively tries to take over the event, or drag it into their vision of the future.
To be fair, all have succeeded to a degree. Ernesto Bertarelli created a regatta in 2007 that returned a surplus that was distributed to the top teams. The first time that has happened in an America’s Cup. Next time around, he went a stage too far, and found himself on the losing end of a protracted Court battle and eventually lost it the Match to Golden Gate Yacht Club.
Larry Ellison took the Cup in a different direction in 2013, creating an event that the general public could at last understand and relate to. But its shortcomings were many.
During the 40 minute interview, we covered a lot of ground, albeit it at largely a conceptual level, but drilling down as required.
Murray’s answers were excellent, leading one to have hope that maybe this next Cup will deliver all that it has promised for so long. And, that at long last, the sport has turned the corner and entered Main Street, as far as the general media and the non-sailing public are concerned.
What was also impressive, and has been touched on by others involved in the design process for the AC62, is that there has been a lot of collaborative effort aimed at designing a good boat and class rule.
Eyebrows will be raised over the notion of the Defender sailing in the Challenger Series. But the reality is that the more involved the Defender involves itself with the Challenger Selection Series, it is depriving itself of the opportunity to two boat test with its second AC62.
Obviously the Protocol for the next America’s Cup is not yet announced. This week it was expected to be signed off. Hopefully many have learned from the experiences of the past decade.
In this edition, we publish the first two parts of the interview with Iain Murray. Tomorrow on our Sail-World.com website we will publish the third and final part.
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