Harken Derm

A New Beginning for the America’s Cup

Published on September 18th, 2017

In the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, Grant Dalton, CEO of the America’s Cup winning Team New Zealand, describes the change of course to be seen in the next America’s Cup.


Grant Dalton

What boats will we see in the next America’s Cup?
Large and powerful monohulls, a development class. Technologically advanced yachts (it’s a return to monohulls, not a return to the past, echoes TNZ president de Nora) that demand highly competent sailors.

Goodbye to the sailing cyclists we saw in Bermuda?
Grinders are coming back.

Yachts with foils?
More details will released on November 30.

But at the end of September you will make the Protocol public with the new rules for the 36th America’s Cup. They include nationality clauses: will they regard both men and equipment?
No, only the sailors. There will be percentage that must carry a passport from the challenging country.

The finals for the Cup will be in Auckland in 2021. Various countries will host pre-America’s Cup racing: when and with which yachts?
In 2019 and 2020, with the same yachts as the finals.

Is the alliance with Luna Rossa, your Challenger of Record, a mere budgetary consideration?
We’ve always been friendly. The friendship was transformed into an alliance in 2015, when Oracle, the defender, changed the cards on the table with the help of other teams. They shortened the catamaran to be sailed in the Cup match, canceling any progress made in research by Luna Rossa (team owner Patrizio Bertelli withdrew in protest).

Oracle cancelled an event and the Qualifiers already scheduled to take place in Auckland, leading our government to cut funding to the team, penalizing us (the Kiwi’s later won a court decision against Oracle who had to pay hefty damages).

At this point we realized we would be on our own – they started calling us the ‘Lone Wolves’ (here Dalton laughs) – and we realized that to win the Cup and change the way things were done we needed a partner that had our same vision. An ally who would be honest, transparent, dependable. We found this ally in Patrizio Bertelli. The economic aspects came afterwards.

And when did you decide to return to monohulls?
We first thought about it two years ago with Bertelli. In June, after the victory, we consulted with some potential challengers and that confirmed that we were on the right track.

But that way you lost the advantage acquired with the catamarans.
Let me start by saying that we believe our design team is capable of giving us another great yacht, and that catamarans wouldn’t be ideal for the chop in Auckland. But I want it to be clear that winning the America’s Cup is a privilege, a privilege that includes the duty to safeguard its sporting value. That comes before individual advantage.

Well, in any case you decide it all.
That’s not correct. The Defender doesn’t have absolute power. The Deed of Gift, the Magna-Carta for the trophy, requires that mutual consent be the basis for working with the challenger’s representatives. Only that, dazed by years of the defender’s regime, and with marionettes as Challengers of Record, we had lost sight of this.

What kind of America’s Cup will it be?
Fair, with clear rules. And for the general public. Not alienating like Bermuda, there even the sailors didn’t understand what was going on.

Will there be a lot of Challengers?
We hope so. We’ll create all the necessary conditions (added de Nora, “better quality than quantity.”)

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