Emirates Team NZ's skipper Dean Barker dropped what he called "a bombshell" in his blog yesterday
when he revealed that the AC event organisers had announced that they 'would no longer be requiring the Teams to be based on Piers 30 and 32, and more importantly would not be paying for any redevelopment of the Piers as has been promised for the last 18 months.'
He described himself as: 'completely stunned. We are a little over 6 months from relocating our base to San Fran to what we have been told would be a fully functioning base area complete with Team hospitality spaces and full access for the public to watch the teams preparing and launching their boats. It is now going to be a concrete slab with absolutely nothing on it which will now require us to secure cranes, jettys, and all services required to function. We have never budgeted for this and to be dropped on us now is quite unbelievable.'
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The Barker comments have kicked-off a war of words as Emirates Team New Zealand officially got in on the act with a statement in which Managing director Grant Dalton said: 'The original vision of locating all team bases on Piers 30 and 32 along with all the facilities required to operate the AC72s, will not be fulfilled.'
And claimed that: 'To hear yesterday that those plans have been abandoned six months from when the teams would move to San Francisco is scandalous. Oracle, which has a permanent base on city limits, will not be adversely affected.'
'Two teams in particular – Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa – will be disadvantaged,' he said.
ACEA CEO, Stephen Barclay has replied that: 'Moving the hospitality from Piers 30/32 to Marina is a very positive action. It puts the fans first. And it has been welcomed by the City and our partners. Yes, there has been criticism of this initiative by Emirates Team New Zealand but a more fan-focused and fan-friendly event is to everyone’s benefit.'
'There will be new facilities on the Peninsula and Marina Green like the AC World Series. There will be the America’s Cup Village at Piers 27/29, which is taking shape with the Team and the Puma stores already open and an AC45 on display.'
'And there will still be team activity at Piers 30/32 with teams continuing to have the option to base themselves there if they want to.'
Today, Dean Barker appeared to try and play-down the furore his blog entry had caused . . . 'It would be fair to say my blog from yesterday created a lot of unintended interest throughout the sailing media. It was not to expose any situation, just my own personal view on how things are unfolding in this edition of the Americas Cup. San Francisco is a great venue and we enjoy being here. Next year will be amazing.'
The second America’s Cup World Series San Francisco begins Wednesday with qualifying racing for the match racing championship. A day later, the first two of seven scheduled fleet races kick off the event championship, which concludes Sunday, 7 October.
3 October 2012 8:39