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Posts Tagged ‘Grant Dalton’

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Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 10.59.47 AMMillions of sailing fans – Kiwis and foreigners both – have wondered why Grant Dalton remains at the head of the most famously choking team in the history of sailing.  After some fatefully wrong calls in San Francisco – including some really personal inter-team shit that still hasn’t seen the light of day – you’d think the New Zealand public, who partially funded the team, would have gotten their calls for blood answered.

But that never happened, and in a rare instance of good journalism rearing its head inside yachting, the boys from Canvas published a deep and interesting look at one of the hardest working – if deeply flawed – individuals in the sport.  His marriage woes, that fateful call to allow Oracle the lay day, his sailing ability, and plenty of other sticky subjects; here’s an excerpt:

It was at his grandparents’ waterfront house that Dalton had an epiphany. He was at the window when Heath’s Condor, with Peter Blake on board, hoved into view as it completed a leg of the 1977 Whitbread Round the World Race.

“It came around North Head with this giant yellow spinnaker and I thought, ‘holy shit’. Right down to where every seagull was sitting I can remember that place in time and I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

He rang his mum, Rose, another huge influence, to tell her he was chucking in his accountancy job that Christmas to do a Fiji race. On his return, he went the tried-and-true method and started sailmaking to broaden his skill base. He got a spot on a round-the-world boat, loved it, and decided to get his own boat for the next one. “And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since, basically.”

And here we enter another tricky port-tack in the Dalton story: his skills as a sailor. You do not have to go far to find someone who will denigrate Dalton’s yachtsmanship. Montgomery, who has known Dalton since his early Whitbread days, says the man himself would never confess to “being a rock star round-the-buoys sailor”, and he will correct anybody that claims Dalton won a Whitbread by saying he won the maxi class only.

Read the full story here.


August 12th, 2015 by admin

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We’ve expected Barker to get eased off the helm of ETNZ for quite some time now, and the only nasty or surprising part of the affair was the shitty way he found out.  Kiwi’s biggest radio station RadioTalkZB gave our Senior Editor a call to discuss the controversy over Barker’s axing this morning; listen to the six minutes with host Rachel Smalley by clicking the player above.


February 26th, 2015 by admin

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With just six months left to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, CEO Knut Frostad is now facing his biggest challenge, because earlier today, Grant Dalton announced that the ETNZ mob will definitely not be competing in the 2014-15 edition of the race.  This sets up a massive problem for Frostad and those, like us, who believed the move to One-Design was a prudent one, and those, like us, who believed a strictly manufactured boat could possible bring costs down enough to see a fully subscribed field of 8 teams.

It looks like both Knut and SA were wrong on this one, and we’re not sure why:  Were the cost savings on the VOD65 simply not big enough over a VO70?  Is the corporate world simply not interested in this kind of yacht race?  Did the VOR staff simply not bring enough sponsor development and negotiating skills to the table?  We just don’t know.

What we do know is this:  If Pedro Campos and his Spanish VOR team didn’t have leverage before in their bargaining for the best price on a Volvo 65, they sure do have some now!  Expect an announcement from them next week, and expect 6 boats on the line in Alicante.


May 2nd, 2014 by admin

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Assisted by some tenacious questioning from TV3 (NZ) host Paul Henry, Dean Barker quite clearly lays much of the blame for ETNZ’s America’s Cup loss right at the feet of Grant Dalton, and not just as the guy with the reins.  Barker blames Dalton for allowing Oracle to take the famous ‘lay day’ and says Winnie MacFarlane was a far better grinder, and goes even deeper – though they did not get into the single biggest reason they lost the Cup – ETNZ’s acceptance of the ‘post-Bart’ safety recommendations that allowed a ten-knot wind speed to be simply too low to allow the boats to finish a race under the time limit.  This one is worth watching, and tomorrow we’ll have part two of this excellent interview.  Click the pic or go here for the full ten-minute chat. The America’s Cup Anarchy thread is already blowing up…add your comment here.

Hawaii 3-5

In other AC news, we hear that Hawaii is actually getting real consideration for the next America’s Cup, and for the first time, we’re not discounting it as yet another negotiation ploy by Ehman and Co. to get a better deal out of San Francisco – especially with SF recently announcing that the loss to the City from providing services to the Cup is more than double that initially thought.   Pros?  You’re virtually guaranteed a massive crowd thanks to easy flights from Australia and New Zealand, it’s never cold and wet and foggy and nasty, you have a local government that desperately needs the tourism dollars, and Larry already owns an island there.  Cons:  American and European fans will be in the firm minority…but thanks to Youtube and Stan Honey and the fact that Louis Vuitton never wants to be seen in the same zip code as Red Bull anyway, no one really cares…do they?


February 12th, 2014 by admin

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ImpressionWhile IMOCA figures out what to do with its future, some of its most legendary skippers are moving in another direction.  As first reported here on SA almost half a year ago, Franck Cammas is moving forward with his usual laser-beam focus on a French America’s Cup bid, and an announcement at the Paris “Nautic” boat show may be the first indicator that he could succeed where Les Freres Peyron couldn’t.

Picking up his second-annual French Sailor of the Year award last night, today Cammas pulled together a true ‘who’s who’ in French racing history for this morning’s announcement.  Michel Desjoyeaux will lead the technical team and Franck the sailing team, while Olivier de Kersauson and Stephane Kandler will handle the less exciting parts of the effort.

The team’s “founding members” — in other words, the guys that have funded the initial sponsorship hunt and tried to open some boardroom doors — include big biz bosses Bruno Bich (Bic), Bertrand Méheut (Canal +), Thierry Martel (Groupama), Bruno Luisetti (formerly Kraft Jacobs Suchard) and Erik Maris (Messier Maris & Associés), but crucially no major sponsors were announced.  In other words, there’s enough money to go looking for more, but not enough to start spending.  We also hear from les anarchistes in Paris that some of the veteran grinders are being asked to keep their schedules open for late 2014 and 2015’s AC45 World Series, but no contacts have been signed…

The newly opened Team France thread is bound to be a big one; check it out over here.

Kiwi Kontinuity

While France throws its hat into the ring, Grant Dalton yesterday told 3News NZ that he was back in as well despite earlier question marks from the public and Dalts himself, and the bitter taste of a crushing defeat.  It’s great news for AC35, as Team NZ continues to prove, year in and year out, that it’s the most credible of challengers.  We’re guessing he won’t be on the boat this time, though Glenn Ashby has already re-upped and Dean Barker is a lifer.  Meanwhile, Dalts continues his publicly lukewarm face on the VOR, claiming the $30M he estimates necessary to win might be impossible to find in the current economic climate.  Then again, Dalts might just be pulling the old ‘negotiation by media’ option with VOR CEO Knut Frostad…

Pauly (on the) Shore 

Doing it’s beat to leave the Paul Cayard-led disaster that was Artemis’ AC 34 effort, the team  just announced that Nathan Outteridge and Iain “Goobs” Jensen are continuing with the team, which is currently preparing its bid for the 35th America’s Cup. More. no word which teams are beating down the door to pay way too much for Cayard’s incredible leadership skills.

World Series of Poke Her

The Bay Area Economic Council reported their final America’s Cup economic benefit analysis on Monday, with around $364 million in total economic impact landing in the area over the roughly 3 month period of the event.  This is less than 30% of the original (and insane) $1.4B projection, and less than 40% of the revised $902M projection from March 2013 (and hopefully the City will tell ACEA to get fucked when they tote the same incompetent financial consultants to the table when negotiating the 2017 deal).  With this crap news and the embarrassing ratings for the entire “Summer Of Sailing” and even the incredible AC final (outside of NZ), Coutts is already hedging against big expectations for AC35 in recent softball interviews.

“We’re considering having each of the teams host a World Series event”, Coutts told AC33 and 34 PR staffer Peter Rusch, who’s apparently playing reporter with Yachting World until his AC35 contract comes in.  Coutts says this “would be great in terms of generating excitement in their home countries,” but let’s be serious:  After dropping half the US military budget on incredible ACWS events, Russell is very clearly telling potential teams that they will be responsible for their own regattas in the future.  It’s a shame, because the ACWS is the one part of the AC34 plan that provided awesome racing from beginning to end, and if OTUSA has the kind of massive advantage over AC35 challengers that we would have seen had they not had the big capsize, it might be the only exciting racing of the next Cup – especially if, as we have been hoping, the AC45s race as one-design platforms with unrestricted foils.

Thankfully Coutts cited a coming nationality rule, a welcome change to anyone (like us) who thinks patriotism and sport make great bedfellows.  But he’s already preparing us for a small fleet, presumably because Ellison is shooting to keep the AC72 Class for AC35.  “I think we are better to aim at quality rather than quantity,” he said, despite claiming that new cost reduction measures should cut overall team budgets by around a third.  Call us cynical, but there’s no way in hell another AC72 program will magically cost 25-35 million less than the last time around, even if some one-design elements come into play and there is a joint logistics package.  If there’s one thing that Russell Coutts has proved over and over again, it’s that he always wins, and it always costs a lot more than he says it will.

Legal Beagle

In our final bit of Cupdate news, longtime Kiwi Cup lawyer (and architect of Alinghi’s doomed CNEV challenge) Hamish Ross hit the news today after claiming in a piece in the NZ Law Journal last month that the New York Courts should have no place in deciding how the America’s Cup is run.  Claiming that foreign litigants can’t get a fair shake in the US courts (mostly because he personally can’t seem to win one) Ross says that the Cup should be administered by ISAF instead.  Because of course ISAF is so very impartial, and of course unmotivated by greed or the millions if fees they seek from the AC.  Ross argues that the Deed of Gift and AC Trust are not even valid, and that they could perhaps be overturned by the Court if a strong plaintiff sued the current Trustee; it’s been Ross’s pet argument for a decade, and it’s quite persuasive, until you realize Ross’s theory rests on two centuries of hearsay, dicta, footnotes, quotes from irrelevant politicians, and courts of another country.  It’s no wonder Ross can’t win a case in the US – even after all this time, he still doesn’t understand how precedent works here.

There’s a thread to discuss the legal stuff, and you can download the full NZLJ piece here.


December 11th, 2013 by admin

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