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America's Cup: Dalton reflects on Jury and Volvo performance

'Emirates Team NZ’s two SL’33’s in the background, while partner team, Luna Rossa prepares the sail their AC45 - as viewed from Grant Dalton’s office'    Emirates Team NZ
Emirates Team NZ CEO, Grant Dalton, reviews the developments for the team over late December and early January on the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race:

We have been back at work formally a week now after the Christmas break. Summer looks like it has finally decided to make an appearance and Emirates Team New Zealand is a good place to be right now.

Over the break a number of important developments occurred. There were three jury decisions. The first was on the question we asked about the ability of ACRM/Oracle and the Challenger of Record to influence voting on rule changes related to the America’s Cup itself by manoeuvring the vote with the small teams which had not paid the Cup entry fee.

Prior to a vote in San Diego, which made this obvious to us, I was told by one team 'well we don’t agree with the amendment that is being proposed here in San Diego but we have to vote with Oracle. Without their support (read supply of their AC45) we would be stuffed. '

The Jury found that unless a team had paid the fees to be in the Cup itself they couldn’t vote – the correct decision.

The second was simply an interpretive question we asked on our SL33s and how they should be measured to make sure they comply with the surrogate rule which prohibits the sailing of catamarans longer than 10 metres after the first of January except for the AC45s and later on the AC 72s. The Jury and everyone else for that matter agreed with us so our SL33s are now in the clear and not considered surrogate yachts.

Camper 'a boat which is beating its numbers but under performing (against the opposition) at certain angles' -  Chris Cameron-Volvo Ocean Race   Click Here to view large photo
The third was our agreement with Luna Rossa which had been raised by a series of interpretive questions from Oracle to the Jury. There has been some commentary about that but we are comfortable. Prior to the decision we anticipated they may stop telemetry testing between our 72s so it wasn’t a surprise.

Since being back, Luna Rossa has launched its AC45 and have now sailed twice. They put it all together from two bare hulls in a week. Nice work. You have to be well organised to do that.

We have started sailing our SL33s again, carrying on from where we left off at Christmas and yesterday I went and had a look at progress of the AC72 – a big jigsaw puzzle.

But I guess most of my attention has been focused on Camper and the Volvo Ocean Race. Honestly we aren’t going well enough. Some of that is a boat which is beating its numbers but under performing (against the opposition) at certain angles.

We have improved it but the reach down the coast a few days ago, especially in flat water, showed we are not fast enough. Is there more to get out of it at these angles, maybe not a lot so we need therefore to turn our attention to maximising points where we can – like the in- port races and offshore, when the conditions favour the boat.

What I can say is as an organisation this is being treated as a priority. The boys on board are doing a good job but as Emirates Team New Zealand we are now trying to bring more resource to the party.

The leg to China will start on Sunday, and we need to take some points back. Telefonica was the only boat that had a worse result than us in the Abu Dhabi in-port then the run down the coast. At least we netted a point back on them, now seven behind in second place.

So over the next week here it will be more of the same, SL33 sailing, AC45 prep to start sailing against LR and the Volvo gets underway again on their way to China.

For more on Emirates Team NZ see www.etnzblog.com


by Grant Dalton and ETNZblog.com

  

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9:49 PM Wed 18 Jan 2012GMT


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