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America's Cup: DutchSail not marking time over Arb Panel Hearing

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 17 Feb 14:06 PST 18 February 2019
Simeon Tienpont - DutchSail walkabout on the America's Cup bases - February 15, 2019 © Richard Gladwell

DutchSail team leader, Simeon Tienpont says the team is flattered that the three Super Teams are taking them so seriously when they have "only just dried the wet from behind our ears."

That was about all the leader of the first ever Dutch America's Cup Challenge could say about the America's Cup Arbitration Panel complaint, which has been lodged by the Challenger of Record with the apparent backing of the other two "Super Teams" who entered 2021 America's Cup regatta.

The complaint will be heard next month before a formal Arbitration Panel Hearing in Auckland. It concerns the acceptance of three late entries by Emirates Team New Zealand

Tienpont says that the Dutch team has not put its effort on hold pending the outcome of the Hearing which is believed to relate to the payment of entry fees and dates on which some USD$4million of entry fee and performance bond is required to be paid.

He says the idea of the Challenge only really came about after the end of the last Volvo Ocean Race, where he skippered one of two Dutch entries - pointing out that his team Team AskoNobel was first to finish Leg 6 in Auckland almost a year ago on February 27, 2018.

The purpose of his visit was to meet with Emirates Team New Zealand, suppliers and have a look at facilities in Auckland. He is accompanied by the newly appointed Team CEO Eelco Blok, who is in Auckland despite not being due to start officially until March 1.

The decision to go ahead with the Challenge under the name of Team The Netherlands, with the team now running under the moniker of "DutchSail".

The decision to Challenge was only made last October 2018 - a month before the Late Entry deadline of November 30, 2018.

Currently the team has 14-15 people and has not made a final decision on whether or not to purchase a basic package that is on offer from Emirates Team New Zealand - and option that has/is being taken up by the two other Late Entry teams.

Tienpont makes the point that it may be an option to unbundle the Emirates Team New Zealand offering - taking some modules of the design and doing the other modules in-house.

Part of his Auckland agenda is to negotiate details of the package purchase, and make a decision, on design.

The Dutch AC75 is not yet in build , as such has no chance of making the Protocol required first America's Cup World Series regatta in Cagliari, in October 2019.

Other sources have it that the Cagliari series is almost certain to be postponed into 2020, and all teams will be required to compete.

One of the themes emanating from Tienpont, is that while they have started late, the gap between the Late Challengers and Supper Teams is not widening - however history will be the judge of that thesis.

DutchSail made headlines with the announcement of Volvo Ocean Race winner Carolijn Brouwer as one of the crew who will helm the AC75. While much has been made of that choice, it is reasonably obvious from this juncture that the teams will have to run 20 or more sailors in their squad, and that would include at least two who are capable of helming as well as other functions on the boat.

"When I first called Carolijn, she made it clear she wouldn't be doing a grinding role," Tienpont chuckles.

But then he makes the serious point that she was included because of her understanding of how sailing campaigns are run at a professional level. Brouwer's three Olympic campaigns in three classes, along with two Volvo Ocean Races are an impressive level of experience, regardless of gender.

Tienpont makes it refreshingly clear that she was selected on merit and not to strike a resonance with sponsors and fans. He adds that the objective with other women bought into the team, and in fact, all members of what is a start up team will be to bring them up to the level required to function effectively and contribute to a professional sailing team.

Over the weekend, Sail-World had a second and longer interview with Tienpont, which will be published later this week.

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