After lots of drama, critical comments and lots of Kiwi mainstream headlines, now Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) surprisingly revealed that after an analysis of the Protocol and the changes that had already been made, or signalled, that the document was reasonable and the Cup considered to be quite winnable by the team.
Sail-World's America's Cup Editor Richard Gladwell reports in detail, but it seems that after blowing off like Mount Vesuvius initially that with a few more brain cells on the job, the Kiwis now realise that the Challenger of Record, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club has negotiated a reasonable Protocol for the 2017 event.
Its easy to be cynical but you'd have to wonder if the Kiwi explosive reaction to the release of the protocol has just been a ploy to show potential sponsors that ETNZ can command mainstream media attention ahead of their sponsorship drive. They pulled in $6,000,000 in sponsorship this week alone so all the headlines can't have hurt them.
ETNZ CEO, Grant Dalton, 'We found some checks and balances that are not necessarily apparent at first reading. 'Our conclusion is that we can mount a competitive challenge, with a realistic chance of winning the 35th America’s Cup. To achieve this we will have to think smarter and mobilise the knowledge and expertise of the New Zealand marine industry.
'The Protocol allows the defender to build two boats; challengers only one. However, the detail of the rule shows the advantage to Oracle is not as has been widely perceived.'
The release of the Protocol and the subsequent amendment, the release of the final AC62 Class Rule and the elimination of San Francisco as a possible venue give the team something to work with. Leading up to the 2013 match the Protocol was amended 19 times, the final time on September 2, 2013, just days before Emirates Team New Zealand faced off against Oracle.