Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for April 7, 2014
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Emirates Team New Zealand took another step along the path towards the next America's Cup with the announcement of a new, expanded Board of five Directors. Two of those appointed have direct America's Cup experience.
The test of the new Board will be the way in which it interacts with the sailors, and particularly the previously announced Executive Committee of six.
In many ways this approach - while familiar to the corporate world, it is a big experiment in the fast paced world of America's Cup, where fortune favours the bold and time is a very scarce currency.
Once the Protocol is announced for the 35th America's Cup – expected some time in April, maybe as early as next week, Challengers from New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Italy, Canada, and Great Britain are expected - making one of the strongest fields seen for some time.
Since it first entered the America's Cup in 1985, the New Zealand Challenge, later to become Team New Zealand have made every Challenger Final, or sailed in the Match itself, as a Challenger or Defender. That is a total of seven Cup cycles, or eight if you count the Big Boat Challenge of 1988.
Maintaining that level of success is a tough assignment that has not been matched by any team in America's Cup history, but it is one that most New Zealanders take for granted. The focus should be on what Emirates Team NZ, did achieve, rather than take all that for granted ('scuse the pun) and focus on what was not.
In the past, despite all that has been said in the past few months, there has been a big overlap between the Board and the sailors. This is perceived as being unhealthy by those outside sailing circles, but today's announcement is a big departure from the past, by any successful America's Cup team, which first and foremost has to be focused on winning, and nothing else.
A lot of experience has walked out the Boardroom door at Emirates Team NZ, and is not easily replaced. The outgoing Board, Jim Farmer included, should be recognised and thanked for a a fantastic job done in pulling the team back from the depths of the 2003 defeat in Auckland.
Often the America's Cup is a knife fight up a dark alley. In that environment you have to make decisions and justify them later - not the other way around as happens in the corporate world. Quite how a corporate style board functions in that environment remains to be seen.
Continuing on the America's Cup theme we feature Parts 2 and 3 of the 34th America's Cup Review, looking at how Oracle Team USA were able to get the time to be able to turn around the Match - in which they were down eight races to three.
In the Olympic classes, the New Zealand Sailing Team has come away with two Gold Medals from the fourth round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca.
As well as the wins in the 49er and Womens 470 classes, New Zealand crews came away with a sixth in the Mens 470 and two top ten places in the Mens Laser.
For most New Zealand crews it is their first regatta of the European season, where the pinnacle event will be the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander, Spain, in September this year.
That regatta will decide half of the qualifying countries in each of ten Olympic events for the 2016 Olympics.
The goal of each country, particularly the better funded ones, is to get their sailors qualified in the first round – justifying further funding on the basis that there is certainty of Olympic selection. Countries that operate a system of funding based around medal potential and quotas, are even more brutal – and if the nation fails to qualify in the top half of qualifiers, then justifying making a late selection in that class is an even harder call. Effectively the sailors are cut from Olympic contention.
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