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America's Cup: Dutch Courage - more on Team The Netherlands

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 24 Jan 2019 05:30 PST 24 January 2019
Simeon Tienpont - Team The Netherlands - January 2019, Schevening Beach © On Air Entertainment & Media

"Team The Netherlands", the new Dutch America's Cup team have released more details of their team, and campaign, which was announced as one of the three late Challengers accepted on November 30, 2018.

As advised earlier in Sail-World.com the team will be headed by twice America's Cup winner and Volvo Ocean Race skipper Simeon Tienpont. He is also the skipper of the new team, which unusually will represent two Dutch yacht clubs.

Three other team members have been named.

Dirk Kramers, is named on the team website as the team leader, a highly experienced composites engineer and Kramers has been involved in seven previous America's Cup campaigns as a designer and engineer.

Peter van Niekerk, also a double America's Cup with Alinghi is also named. He competed in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race on Team AkzoNobel. Van Niekerk is believed to be working in a crew management role.

As predicted earlier in Sail-World, Volvo Ocean Race winner Carolijn Brouwer is also named in the sailing team. The triple Olympian in three classes is expected to try out as a helmswoman, or trimmer, she also has experience in foilers. Her addition in the sailing crew is the first for a female on the 2021 America's Cup. More are expected as with their lighter physique they will tip the scales below the average of 90kg specified for the Cup - allowing heavier grinders to be carried.

As the Finn will no longer be an Olympic class by 2021 several top Finn sailors are expected to come across to the 2021 America's Cup, and some may even drop out of their current Olympic campaigns in favour of the America's Cup. The inclusion of more female sailors on the America's Cup sailing teams will facilitate this shift.

One of the Dutch media reports says that the Dutch challenge is predicated on holding an America's Cup World Series in Scheveningen. That ACWS event is also mentioned in the timeline published on their new website.

Emirates Team New Zealand first advised the possibility of that condition in the advisory after late entries closed, stating that some of the late Challenges had conditions and gave the example of wishing to stage and America's Cup World Series as one of those conditions. Simeon Tienpont is reported as saying that such a series would have an economic benefit of 60 million euros in revenue from tourists, 50,000 visitors per day and 30,000 corporate guests.

It would seem that the team is without a major sponsor or financial backer, at this stage. However, the team was required to pay a $US1million entry fee for its Challenge to be accepted in late November. The team would appear to have some substantial unannounced financial backing or underwriting.

Under the Protocol governing the 36th America's Cup, the Entry Fee was supposed to be non-refundable. It would seem that if the Dutch challenge did not proceed then someone would be out of pocket to the tune of $US1million unless some agreement had been made for the entry fees to be paid into an escrow account until the entry conditions arising from the eight late entries was resolved. Of course, failure to be able to pay the entry fee into even an escrow account would have automatically eliminated any of the eight late Challenges that were lodged on the final day. Only three of those have been announced as being accepted - two of which were unconditional - and it would seem that only the Dutch have requested an ACWS event.

Given that fluid sponsorship/financier situation, it is curious that the team is seeking an ACWS event, however obviously such an event would be of interest to Dutch sponsorship consortium interested in getting payback for their investment in the America's Cup Regatta which will be sailed on the other side of the World from The Netherlands.

Team The Netherlands also operating under the brand of "DutchSail". They have released a timeline of key events which reveal the intended shape and intentions of the new team are as follows, with comments by Sail-World NZ:

November 2018 - Registration KNZ & RV Muiden and KRZV De Maas accepted the team's entry was made in the name of two venerable Dutch yacht clubs - which spreads the potential funding base and eliminates inter-club rivalry common when new challenges are issued.

December 2018 - Knowledge institutions share themselves with a manifesto behind the campaign it is reported that a leading accounting firm is undertaking the usual feasibility and economic benefits study, which is used to attract sponsorship and backing. It is expected to highlight the strengths and potential of the Dutch marine and technology industries, the exposure for The Netherlands in Challenging for the America's Cup, and the economic benefits of the Challenge. Usually, such exercises also focus on the benefits of an America's Cup win by the team. However, the America's Cup has only once been won by a first-time team. The study will also highlight the fact that the Dutch Olympic sailors finished second on the Nations medal table at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and topped the Nations table at the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus Denmark, for the combined Olympic classes. The event was also the first Olympic Qualifier for Tokyo. Also expected to be highlighted is the fact that two of the entries in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race were Dutch-flagged and skippered. The Dutch marine industry was well represented in the event. Another flagship opportunity for the America's Cup team is the staging of the worlds largest marine trade show, METS, held each year in Amsterdam. The report would also be expected to highlight that currently the Dutch marine industry and sport undersells its achievements and capability and that the America's Cup Challenge is an ideal vehicle to showcase this capability. Sailing has a high profile in The Netherlands as a sport - meaning for sponsors much of the foundation work has already been done amongst fans and potential consumers.

January 2019 - Governance structure active and start an organisation this is the start of the team gear-up process which is currently underway. The team is expected to be a similar style to Emirates Team New Zealand aiming for multiple commercial sponsors and as the Kiwi team operated in the 1995-2003 America's Cups used a "Family of Five" group of major NZ domestic sponsors as the core of the financial stream and sponsorship message.

February 2019 Operational with CEO - it is not clear from this line whether that includes the team functioning as a full team of 80-100 personnel from next month. However, design work must be underway by this time, unless the team is intending to purchase a design package from Emirates Team New Zealand as two other challengers have announced they will be doing. One of those, Stars & Stripes Team USA has said it will purchase ETNZ design packages for its Race Boats 1 & 2.

May 2019 - Start construction test boat - the team appears to be following the optimal path for Challengers which is to construct a test or prototype boat cloned off the AC75, but allowed to be no longer than 12 metres overall length. The Royal Malta YC team have confirmed this is the path they will follow. So far only American Magic (New York YC) has launched a 38ft development yacht. Earlier Ineos Team UK launched a 28ft monohull foiler based on the Quant28 hull design.

March 2020 - Launch AC 75 'Salamander' the team is undertaking a single AC75 campaign - usually indicative of a team intending to contest multiple America's Cups. Only Royal Malta YC have confirmed they are a single AC75 team. The launch date of Team The Netherlands AC75, indicates that it will not be starting in the 2019 America's Cup World Series event, which in the Protocol governing the 36th America's Cup is a mandatory event for all teams. However, it is apparent that neither of the two single AC75 teams will attend this event tentatively scheduled for October 2019 in Cagliari, Italy, meaning that a change to the Protocol will be required or the event postponed. However, if the 2019 ACWS is to be postponed, then March is a very early date in the European sailing season.

America's Cup sponsor Prada is expected to insist on the first event being held in Italy, either in October 2019 with the five two AC75 teams competing, or in 2020 with all the AC75 teams competing - and other ACWS subsequent to the Cagliari regatta.

2020 June - America's Cup World Series Scheveningen - obtaining an event at a Dutch venue may be possible - provided the first event(s) have been held in Italy, and subject to commitments made to other teams which are based in Italy, Malta, Portsmouth (southern UK), New York/Newport RI (East coast USA), Long Beach (West coast USA).

Some of these may also wish/ have been allocated an ACWS event.

The original ACWS Venue plan was believed to be Cagliari, another European venue close by for 2019, and then Newport, Long Beach, Asia and then to Auckland. But that was before the acceptance of three late Challengers. The teams need to be in New Zealand by September/October 2020 and will contest the Christmas Cup in mid-December 2020 with the America's Cup regatta getting underway in early January 2021.

The issue not mentioned is that each team, under the Protocol governing the 36th America's Cup, must pay USD$300,000 to enter each and every America's Cup World Series facility.

2021 January - Prada Cup Auckland

2021 March 6 - America's Cup Auckland

A full media release is expected later today from the team.

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