Boating NZ : FREE TO READ February 2014
Emirates Team New Zealand has signed up the top contenders from NZ sailing’s next generation D ean Barker was conspicuously absent when his heir presumptive, Peter Burling, was welcomed into the Emirates Team New Zealand fold a fortnight into the New Year. A sign of a revolution? Grant Dalton quickly poured cold seawater on any speculation. Barker, he said, was up north on holiday, but is still head of the sailing team for August 2017 – the likely date of the next America’s Cup. But plenty of changes are afoot at the ETNZ headquarters in Halsey Street, Auckland, soon to be demolished for a hotel. Dalton is still backing Barker to the hilt: “I’m absolutely expecting him to be the skipper again. Dean always has my support, 250 percent. The guy is brilliant.” But nothing is set in stone, and Dalton wants Burling and his fellow New Zealand Sailor of the Year, Blair Tuke to push Barker hard in the Kiwis’ latest quest for the Auld Mug. And Burling, all of 23, is keen to take the wheel if given the chance. Signing up young guns Burling and Tuke who, incidentally, haven’t abandoned their bid to win 49er gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is the first evidence of a shake-up at ETNZ. “This organisation needs to grow and change,” Dalton says. “We need to develop and bring in new talent, and where possible we want to bring in Kiwi talent.” The sailing crew are likely to be younger than in the 2013 line up; remember, ETNZ averaged the oldest AC team in San Francisco, and Yachting New Zealand is helping to put forward promising candidates. At the top, it’s the same old faces among the 29 currently on the payroll, thanks to the Government’s $5m bridging finance: Dalton and Barker, Nick Holroyd leading design, and past chief of operations Kevin Shoebridge, who will have a more hands-on role this time. Dalton has yet to think of a new title for him. Dalton looks likely to concentrate on what he does better than most: raising funds to get this campaign floating. After some soul searching over the last five months, he’s stepping away from being the guy with the final say on key decisions. Now he’s part of an executive group, who will “meet a lot” to make the big calls. “We have to expand the way we make decisions, because that was where we made a mistake in San Francisco. We were very fluid here [in Auckland] but we closed in too much in San Francisco. We got into too much of a process-focused environment – we weren’t able to respond quickly enough because of that,” he says. “Rather than me making a lot of key decisions, I need to take a good look at myself. There’s so much experience in this organisation, the way we make decisions needs to be a bit smarter.” The new executive team is Dalton, Shoebridge, Barker, Holroyd, trimmer Glenn Ashby and performance analyst Daniel Bernasconi, who spent six years with the McLaren Formula One team. Once the protocol for the next America’s Cup has been released, probably in March, Dalton will take the campaign’s strategies to funders offshore “to pay for this damn thing again”. In the meantime, he’s been keeping the waters warm with existing sponsors and hoping to snare a significant technology sponsor this time. In spite of Oracle’s promises to reduce team budgets, Dalton doubts whether ETNZ will be pay a cent less than the $120m spent in the last campaign. “Russell Coutts is saying you’ll need $US80m [$95m] to play, but that’s not to win. We’ll need to spend pretty much the same as last time.” YOUNG GUNS Words by Suzanne McFadden America’s Cup SHOOTING FOR EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND Peter Burling, left, Blair Tuke and Grant Dalton: the young 2013 Sailors of the Year have considerably reduced the average age at Emirates Team New Zealand 14 Boating New Zealand February 2014 Feature_Team NZ_Feb14.indd 14 17/01/2014 2:43:56 p.m.
FREE TO READ March 2014