The America’s Cup jungle drums are beating with increasing fervour as the date approaches for the revelation of the venue for the next cup.
Latest to come under the cosh is Grant Dalton, the no-nonsense boss of the New Zealand all conquering AC36 team, who in manoeuvring to keep his team together for the next cup, has upset some of New Zealand’s self-important worthies . . . something Dalton finds very easy to do.
There have been calls – by Mark Dunphy of Greymouth Petroleum, who claims he has a consortium of private backers with the funds to allow Team New Zealand to defend the Cup at home – for Dalton to stand down as CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, for his deal to go ahead.
It seems that the man who has master-minded the rebirth of Team New Zealand after their loss of the America’s Cup in 2003 is now and just lead them to victory again on home waters is not required.
In response an Emirates Team New Zealand group describing themselves as ‘long-term team members’ issued a strongly worded statement.
This makes it clear they want Dalton to remain in charge and do not welcome the intervention of Mark Dunphy and Greymouth Petroleum.
‘As dedicated members of Emirates Team New Zealand some of us have been part of this team and in the America’s Cup for longer than many, including Dalts. We have experienced the good and bad, the wins and the losses and everything in-between and that makes us well qualified to say who we think is best to lead this team to defending and winning the 37th America’s Cup. For an assumption to be made that as a group of people we would simply welcome the departure of someone like Dalts, who has achieved more and given more than you could ever imagine to this team, to our country and to other people, is mind boggling.
After a single phone call with Dalts and refusal to meet with management or the ETNZ Board, in our opinion Mr Dunphy has publicly undermined our team structure. In addition, he has undermined the absolute dedication and commitment that Dalts has displayed relentlessly since 2003 when taking over the running of what were the ashes of a defeated team, to build it back up to be the most successful America’s Cup team in modern history with our proud yacht club, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
If anyone has proven they can raise money for the team it’s Dalts. To keep the team afloat over the last 18 years he has raised over $500 million in sponsorship for this team to be able to proudly put New Zealand technology, innovation and sporting talent on a global stage, so much so that many of the biggest brands in the world want to associate with us.
Of course, Dalts would not claim to have done this on his own, but what he has done is harness the unbeatable power of ‘the team’. Something money cannot buy and something which Mr Dunphy has clearly underestimated by assuming that he can just buy into at Dalts’ expense.
We are all incredibly proud of this team. It has one of the most admired organisational cultures in sport. People apply to be part of the team from all around the world. Every one of us (including Dalts) knows we are lucky to be part of it, but with a very clear understanding that ‘the team’ and its legacy are bigger than any one of us. It is naïve to think that management of an organisation like this can be replaced so easily.
No individual has ever won the America’s Cup. There is never a place in this team for individuals who act with self-interest before putting the team, their teammates, and the sole objective of winning the America’s Cup first – no matter where it is.
Our ‘Team New Zealand’ is our team, with Dalts at the heart of it. He is a major driver of the team’s performance and right now Mr Dunphy’s actions are compromising our performance towards winning the 37th America’s Cup.
It is a very short list of leaders that can attest to the tenacity and success that Dalts has had in the America’s Cup, through many highs and lows. And as we have seen by many other America’s Cup teams that come and go in this game, they think they have the talent and people to run a team to win, but they don’t. And no one at ETNZ turns up to work every day not to win.
To be clear, as much as we would love to race in Auckland, we would rather win proudly flying the flag of New Zealand, the RNZYS and our team anywhere internationally than to undermine the structure of a winning team and face losing in Auckland. None of us want a repeat of 2003.
As any Kiwi that has travelled understands, you always fly the Kiwi flag prouder when you are doing it offshore. After all, there are significantly more eyeballs to see the remarkable technology and innovation created by ‘the team’ and the country we represent when offshore.
Mr Dunphy has not shown any transparency or consultation with the team and has in no way shape or form, offered confidence in a process that would allow a successful defence of the 37th America’s Cup which once again remains our sole focus, alongside the treatment of our people – without them, we would be nothing.