America’s Cup: Can Team New Zealand overcome the silliness?

Published on June 23rd, 2014

Since the America’s Cup never ceases to fully stop, it gets divided into seasons. There is the sailing season, and then the silly season.

The Kiwi nation is up to their waders in silliness.

After their defeat in the 34th America’s Cup, they return home in October 2013 to a hero’s welcome. They were downtrodden, after being up 8-1, but the country still loved them. Big time! The enthusiasm stirs Team New Zealand to remain intact for the next Cup. They receive $5 million in government funding to stay afloat.

The Kiwis, while waiting for the Protocol, make refinements to their sailing team and administration structure. They compete in the A-Class Catamaran Worlds and Extreme Sailing Series to remain fresh, and opt out of the Volvo Ocean Race to remain focused on the America’s Cup.

The release of the Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup in June stirs negative press within New Zealand, as the media finds the rules overly tilted. Public opinion pressures the government to stop funding the team, despite the $36 million taxpayer investment toward the team for the 34th America’s Cup providing an estimated positive impact of $87 million to the New Zealand economy.

The Kiwi team remains optimistic about the Protocol rules, though is concerned about securing sponsor funding without the venue being confirmed. The entry deadline is August 8, while the America’s Cup venue may not be known until December 31, and the Challenger venue need not be revealed until February 15, 2015.

With the Kiwi team uncertain about entry, Defense skipper Jimmy Spithill and CEO Russell Coutts have questioned the leadership of Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton, with 4-time Cup winner Brad Butterworth joining the choir.

While salaries are rarely revealed, the media learned that Dalton received a salary of $2 million last year, a nugget perhaps to discourage government funding or promote Dalton’s ouster.

The team’s beginnings go back to the 1987 America’s Cup in Australia, and have since been active in each edition (excluding 2010 Deed of Gift Match). Standing by to see if the Kiwis can overcome the silliness to keep their streak alive.

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