“Now I’m not very popular in New Zealand”


Updated at 6:27 p.m.

At 65, New Zealand sailor Grant Dalton demonstrated last Wednesday in Barcelona that he is the undisputed leader of Team New Zealand and as president of the America’s Cup Events company, organizer of the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona 2024, he pointed out that, “This would not have been possible without the essential support of all the institutions of the city and the country. Now I am not popular in New Zealand and there are opinions for and against defending the title outside of there, but we had serious reasons to take this decision” points out.

“We had few prospects for institutional support and, furthermore, the government was very critical of us due to various pressures. Our country is small, the big sponsors are in Europe and the funds we needed were also in Europe. It is true that this was a disappointment for our fans, but I think they understand now.” concrete.

Team New Zealand does not have the support of great fortunes such as INEOS Britannia (Jim Ratcliffe), ‘Alinghi Red Bull Racing’ (Ernesto Bertarelli) or ‘Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team’ (Patrizio Bertelli) and must seek their sponsorships in ways other than they. Recognizes that, “We still haven’t covered the team’s budget. The sporting issue is one thing, with the crew already defined, and financing is another, it’s never finished. That’s why you’re always looking for new markets and sponsors” .

Regarding the departure of Prada as a sponsor in Barcelona, ​​the New Zealand leader explains that, “In the last edition, Prada was a sponsor of a team that was ‘challenger of record’ (first challenger and that elaborates the protocol with the defender) and also a sponsor of the event. It was something very complex and this caused some conflict.”

“As a result of this and so that these problems do not occur again, I made the decision that the Challenger Tournament (Challengers Selection Series), the Youth and Women’s America Cup and the Final Match of the 37th edition each have his sponsor and not just one as happened in the previous one”.

For him, Barcelona was prepared to host the 37th edition of the Cup, “It was not a surprise because we knew the work that was being done by the institutions and the private initiative jointly and this was key for me.”

“Another reason is that we were well acquainted with the reality of the city and its population and the respect that is held here for big events, and this could help us a lot” it is finished.

The challenging teams in this edition are training intensely in their respective countries, except for the Swiss ‘Alinghí’ who have been training every day in Barcelona since August. The impression is that it will be an open edition as defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand are considered in some circles to be a less powerful rival defending the title on their home ground of Auckland.

“I think it’s good that they think so” says Dalton, “the problem of defending the title outside of our country and so far away and this affects families, fans, etc. It is very different from doing it there, it is harder, but we are aware that doing it in Barcelona was vital to raise funds for the team and we are all here with the same illusion that we would face it in our country”.

As in the last editions of the America’s Cup, in Barcelona there will also be some preliminary regattas in which the defender and the challengers will participate. In this edition there will be three.

These regattas will be held in the second half of 2023 and the first half of 2024. The first two will be held with the AC40 (monohulls with ‘foils’ of 12.20 meters in length) and the third, with the AC75 (monohulls with ‘ foils’ of 22.90 meters), the same ones with which the final phase and the Final of the 37th America’s Cup will be played. This third will be held in the same regatta fields of the Cup in Barcelona.

The first will be held in Cagliari (Sardinia) and the head of the event has advanced that, “It will not be in Auckland, it has been ruled out, nor in Malaga. It will be in Catalonia, and maybe in Tarragona or Sitges, or other towns that are close to Barcelona.”

The Youth America’s Cup will be held in Barcelona for its third edition, after San Francisco in 2013 and Bermuda in 2017, but the Women’s America’s Cup will be the first time in the event’s 172-year history, a complete revolution.

Grant Dalton is of the opinion that, “Both competitions are high-performance and all participants will compete under the same conditions, something that has never happened before, and the safety and capacity of teams with Olympians in their ranks and crews of the highest level will be combined, especially promoting female sailors. It is a project that excites us.”

The closing date for team registrations is May 31, 2023 and the possibility of a sixth challenging team, which would be a French team, is on the table. “The issue is almost closed. Team New Zealand will help him on the design issue and will have an AC75 (they are talking about the former AC75 of ETNZ ‘Te Kahu’) although I can’t set deadlines for when it will be ready.”

Since Spain will not have a team in the Cup, Grant Dalton hopes that the citizens of Barcelona “They consider us the ‘home’ team, we are grateful to Barcelona and we will do everything possible so that we are worthy of their support.”

seven times around the world

Born in Auckland (New Zealand), Grant Stanley Dalton is 65 years old and has four children. Like many of the children of the so-called ‘city of sails’ he was going to be a sailor. He studied accounting at the University of Auckland, and as a child he started sailing and when he finished his studies he decided that his place was in the sea.

In 1977, when he saw the Whitbread ship ‘Heath’s Condor’, with Peter Blake aboard, in full view from his grandparents’ house in Auckland, he made the decision

He has been around the world seven times; first six as part of the Whitbread Round the World Race, later to be named the Volvo Ocean Race. He won the 1985-86 edition aboard the ‘Lion New Zealand’, skippered by Peter Blake, and as skipper he repeated in the 1993-94 edition with the maxi ‘NZ Endeavour’. In 1995 he was awarded the OBE for his contribution to sailing.

In the year 2000, starting from Barcelona, ​​he won The Race, around the world in command of the maxi catamaran ‘Club Med’, together with Guillermo Altadill, also breaking the current world record (62 days and 7 hours).

After Team New Zealand’s humiliating defeat in the 2003 America’s Cup final against Swiss ‘Alinghi’ in Auckland, he was called in to restructure and revitalize the team.

In 2007 in Valencia, again in the final, they would lose again to ‘Alinghi’ in Valencia and win, after the incredible defeat in the final in San Francisco in 2013 (ETNZL won 8-1 and lost 9-8 to ‘ Oracle’) the Cup in 2017 in Bermuda and in 2021 in Auckland. With ETNZ he won the TP52 Audi Med Cup Circuit in 2009 and 2010.

Passionate about motorcycle and car racing (he has competed in more than 150) and owns racing motorcycles and cars. In 2017 he nearly lost his life in a race on the Isle of Man. He is still racing today.

“I’ve done seven laps around the world and some America’s Cups, but motorcycle racing is the most extreme thing I’ve ever done” Explain.


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