Welcome to Sail-World.com’s New Zealand e-magazine for June 22, 2014
The siege of Team New Zealand has continued unabated all week, with elements of the New Zealand media taking up the lead initiated by Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill on NZ TV and radio.
The team did itself no favours, by divulging sponsorship and financial information at its Black Friday media conference.
Now the campaign against the team has reached a new low with salary allegations being made, in the basis of information provided by sources who would not be named, and the personal finances and assets of team members being investigated in a half-arsed way by some elements of the media, who should know better.
It is hard to believe that a team and its CEO, in particular are being attacked in this way. Sure they made a serious, unintentional error. That has been admitted.
In their self-righteousness many seem to have forgotten the basket-case of a team the Grant Dalton inherited when he took up the CEO role back in 2003, after New Zealand was beaten by the Swiss Alinghi team, comprising six members of the winning NZ team from 2000.
The 2014 Bermuda Race fleet sail past Beavertail lighthouse out into the Atlantic. - Daniel Forster/PPL
The media conference at which Team New Zealand released its own review as to why it had lost the America's Cup, had media members calling for 'head to roll' and demanding that individuals should be named so they could be publicly pilloried.
Getting Grant Dalton on board, was a big risk for the round the world racer. He managed to re-shape the team to the point where it won the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia, and within weeks had to work out how to hold the America's Cup team together as Oracle embarked on a two year Court battle with Alinghi, which froze out other Challengers.
As we noted in the Sail-World review of the 2013 America's Cup campaign, Team New Zealand did not do a lot wrong in the run up to the 34th America's Cup - when they were based in Auckland. It was freely acknowledged by the other competitors that Team New Zealand led the development initiatives, and the team was the benchmark right through the Cup.
Richard Mille, the all British sailing team managed by Pete Cumming was today the first boat to cross the line on at the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014. in - Th.Martinez/onEdition Click Here to view large photo
Things did not go Team NZ's way in San Francisco, when they entered Oracle Team USA's home stadium. Oracle got the time, and data, they needed to close the gap and pass the Kiwis. We all know the final result.
The needling that we are now seeing directed at Team New Zealand, started midway through that series, and was aimed at skipper Dean Barker.
It followed a similar theme, of taunting people personally, and it has no place in the sport. Neither do those who indulge in such antics.
Oracle might not like it, but teams do have the right to speak up and point out issues that they believe are wrong with the event, or that are affecting them more so than others.
That does not deserve a sneering personal attack in response, and setting the lead for others to do the same and think that it is OK. It's not.
Turning to the New Zealand media, it is very clear that most do not have any understanding of the way America's Cup campaigns are put together, and how the financial cycle works.
A commercially based team will always have cashflow issues at this stage of the America's Cup cycle. There's no money coming in. You have to retain talent, get a sailing program running, and get the design work underway. For start up teams the task is even more difficult.
Team NZ's saving grace off the back of the 2007 America's Cup, was that the oft criticised Ernesto Bertarelli managed to run an event that produced a surplus that was distributed amongst the teams. Team New Zealand's payout was never publicly disclosed but was reported
to have been $18million.
Boats meet the treacherous Isle of Wight landmark, The Needles. Navigating around their sharp and jagged rocks will be no easy feat. JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014. - Th.Martinez/onEdition Click Here to view large photo
Oracle produced no such surplus from the 2013 regatta. In the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup, Oracle as event organisers took most of the commercial rights for the event - for both the Challenger Series and Match - but made no mention of distributing the surplus to competing teams.
It would seem that the New Zealand team has found a way to arrange bridging finance to get it through the current impasse, without resorting to further sponsorship advances from NZ Trade and Enterprise.
The team would do well to learn from their PR experiences of the past couple of weeks, say little, and let their actions and results on the water do the talking. They should also be very aware, that Team NZ have a lot of fair weather friends.
Nacra 17 European Championship - Yvan Zedda / Groupama sailing team
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston at the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014. - onEdition ©
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Good sailing! Richard Gladwell
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