Mushroom farming in America’s Cup land

Published on August 11th, 2014

With the close of the America’s Cup entry period on August 8, there still remains little known about the teams which will be competing, or where the racing will occur. Like mushrooms, kept in the dark.

Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker and syndicate CEO Kevin Shoebridge recently talked to Tony Veitch on NewstalkZB about Team New Zealand entering the 35th America’s Cup. Here are some excerpts…

Can your entry be denied?
KS: No chance at all. Just because you don’t like us doesn’t mean you can deny us.
DB: What the event needs is more teams.

Who has entered?
KS: We don’t know how many teams have entered. We are in, and we assume that Luna Rossa Challenge, Artemis Racing, Ben Ainslie Racing are entered. There is also speculation about a French team. So either four or five teams. The delay in disclosure, I suspect, is to insure that all the teams comply completely with the entry regulations before they confirm who is in.

Are the challengers cooperating?
KS: The meeting I went to in Los Angeles was the best challenger meeting I have been to in 3 or 4 years. There is a very good group of individuals now with Ben Ainslie and Max Sirena and Iain Percy. We genuinely are on the same page, so as a group of challengers, if we stick together we can be pretty strong.

Where will the racing be held?
KS: We have no sense which venue is favored by the organizers (Bermuda or San Diego), but the west coast of America is much more attractive to us. There is no doubt about that, but we have no say in the decision. The venue is purely the domain of the defender. For us, we must wait and see, and keep our sponsors apprised of the process. But we are really lucky, as our sponsors are a very supportive group, and by and large all wanted to remain involved again.
DB: If there are enough challengers to require two challenger series, it would brilliant for us to host one, as the public would get a good view, we’d only have one move to make if we advanced, and it would allow us to train and prepare in our own backyard.

Why is New Zealand not seen as being supportive?
KS: We were left out of a recent challenger meeting in London, which was disappointing, and can only assume that it was because we didn’t follow the party line about how the challengers were happy with whatever venue is to be selected. Our position is for no other reason that (Bermuda) doesn’t suit some of our main stakeholders and supporters.
DB: The frustration is centered around the lack of information. We are often accused of not being supportive of the event, but there is very little information being made available to us. So it is difficult to be supportive when you know very little about what is occurring. But now by entering, and being accepted as a challenger, we can have a voice in the event planning. The Protocol provides us the opportunity to now influence decisions.

Click here for full audio interview.

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