Real Deal

Not sure who the Public Relations advisers are to either camps but they need firing. Immediately. Last night my inbox filled with links to Kiwi TV and radio stations as both Grant Dalton and Mark Dunphy hit the airwaves in a sum-of-nothing process that just leaves the public going: ‘Just get on with it and get around the table.’ I have to say that the whole ‘he-said, she-said’ is a charade of comical proportions. It’s unedifying to watch.

At the end of the day, a rich businessman has broken cover, called BS on the overseas experiment and is determined to make sure the defence stays in Auckland in 2024. Great. Get around the table, thrash it out, reveal who the backers are and start building boats. Simple. Let’s go sailing.

On the other side of the table is the greatest winning machine in Cup history who has absolutely zero interest in competing and absolutely every interest in winning. And that’s compelling. What an awesome proposition. Plus the winning team know the home waters like the back of their hand, have the very best sailors, designers and builders and so the prospect of a Cup in Auckland is two thirds of the winning equation. Or so you’d think.

©ACE / Studio Borlenghi

A marriage made in heaven? Not a bit of it. Both sides have started the courtship throwing darts at each other. I sense a deep distrust and a now-masked, desperate row-back, utter dislike of one another. It’s almost as if there’s a subtext running through this that we are not privy to. Is it the spectre of old money-men from the past haunting the current incumbents of the hot seats at Team New Zealand and the RNZYS? I can’t fathom it but I suspect as much. But what do they, TNZ and the Squadron, want or expect in probably the harshest time in the history of the modern Cup to raise sponsorship or donor backed dollars?

Here’s a guy saying ‘the money’s not a problem’ and that he’s got backers who wish to remain in the shadows. For some reason, that’s not being believed. But if I were a wealthy banker, real estate mogul, computer platform billionaire or had just bought a bucket of load of Bitcoin at $50 a few years ago on a punt, I’d want anonymity right up until the point that the boats are launched and a glass of champagne is thrust into my paw. I’d equally want someone to do my bidding for me. I wouldn’t want press microphones jammed into my jaw and I’m certainly not taking calls from niche sport print journos – I am simply too busy, the summer’s coming and I have a rather nice superyacht to lounge on.

©ACE / Studio Borlenghi

So Mark Dunphy, who to my eye and ear looks and sounds like a straight-up guy, is the fall guy taking the slings and arrows but giving as good as he gets. Kiwi Cup politics feels like an exclusive club set up for glue-walkers. I admire him for taking on the fight. If the PR battle were being scored along the lines of a tennis match I’d say it’s 30-15 to the new kid on the block. If it were a boxing match, the first three rounds have gone to Mark ‘The Oilman’ Dunphy through sheer consistency whilst Grant ‘Granite’ Dalton, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and living legend, has been shadow-boxing, throwing a few left leads but largely from the back foot.

The long and short of all of this is that the whole lot need a matriarchal figure to grab them both by the ears, sit them down in a quiet room like naughty schoolboys and get them talking face to face. Tell the PR teams to go and do some colouring in on the website and social media, close the doors and thrash out the deal. Now be polite to each other, go in with an open mind, listen and see where it all leads to.

My suspicion is that the money is there – this would be too embarrassing for a multi-millionaire if it wasn’t but that some of the donors have strings attached and history. Well, the donors in the other bidding countries, whichever way you look, have way bigger strings, politics that you just don’t want to touch with a bargepole and a track record. Better to stay out of that. Seriously.

Will it happen? Probably but not in the timescale that either party imagines and I fear for a super-Sunday of interviews that shows neither party in any kind of decent light. This is a straight-up deal or it’s no dice. Simple. Turn down the interview requests. Enforce a complete media black-out. Get talking, do a deal, stun the world at the 11th hour and keep in mind the prize – the 37th America’s Cup on home waters, with all the infrastructure there, the world willing it on, and the most magnificent boats with the best sailors ever in Cup history ready to go.

Forget 2003 and the perceived notions of embarrassment, there’s too much IP and willpower in the current Kiwi sailors’ lockers to prevent that and with just enough money, the betting would all be on Team New Zealand – again.

The Kiwi public want this done and it should be done, especially after the drudgery and terror of the current depressing Covid situation down there. The bright lights of foreign suitors are but a mirage. Give the fabulous Kiwi public some sporting hope, indeed some real hope that there’s a brighter future and that this wretched pandemic hasn’t stopped the country dead in its tracks. The Cup is much more than a boat race for an ugly ewer.

Auckland is the real deal. New Zealand is the only deal. Just do it.

16 thoughts on “Real Deal

  1. Being wise in this situation is essential, Dalton questioning where, who, what and how is him being that. Remember this was first offered only if Dalton was kicked out, which was taken back after the well deserved outrage of it. If I was Dalton i’d be questioning it a hell of a lot, cause if there was a poison pill in the first offer, there’s probably more in the fineprint of this one too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. No it was offered, Dalton then called it all a shady tax evasion scam, THEN they said GD had to go.

    Publicly insulting people wanting to throw money at you as GD did and taking umbrage that they tell you to bugger off?

    Not the greatest play…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s not what was reported:

      “But if Grant Dalton and Team NZ don’t want to do that or can’t do that then I am happy to do that. In this context, it seems most donors are happy to put in funds providing Grant Dalton is not involved,” Dunphy said. (NZHerald 31 Aug)

      “[Dalton] is much less of an issue for me personally, not an issue for me at all,” Dunphy told Stuff, saying it was a view held by some of the other unnamed backers, but his contribution remained regardless.
      Dropping the previous condition that Dalton must leave the team, may change who some of the private backers are.
      “To achieve the $80 million with the team status quo [Dalton staying] requires a different set of donors and contributors,” said Dunphy. (Stuff Sept 4)


      1. There was a press release prior to that addressing rumours of a home funded defence that GD shot down in fairly blunt manner, prompting the response you have quoted


      2. re: the ETNZ 16 Aug statement, if they decided after that ,that Dalton needs to go as a condition, means they just got pssd that he found iffy stuff in the so-called proposal including things that could make a takeover easier (“we are also extremely concerned that control over the team and the event would ultimately rest with private investors” , “and the private investor’s money flows through to a company owned and controlled by him”,


  3. You are a tremendously talented writer but not sure that you listen and interpret to well, if you go back and listen to M Dunphy’s radio interview he talks but in the end what exactly did he say. In my mind i came out thinking what the hell did he exactly say which was absolutely nothing but air.


    1. Thank you. What i heard was a guy with honest intentions, trying very hard to make Auckland happen. He didn’t say much because he can’t at this stage but the intention and direction of travel is clear. That’s my view.


      1. What you and i agree on 100% is the 37th should be in Auckland unequivocally. I am a 4th generation kiwi, now 78yrs but live now in Canada. I grew up sailing on the waitamata and from the little i have followed of you, you also have spent time in NZ and appreciate it’s beauty. I really appreciate your straight forwardness in your writing may our thoughts become reality.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Imagine this. An old man is scared of dying so when his family gets the news he has 6 months to live they decide not to tell him, From then the family is in perpetual double-take mode. For example when the old man says “I will go to Hawaii for a holiday in a year’s time”, the family has to do a reload on his reality to say ” Good idea Grandpa”.

    The hesitation is noticeable.

    I feel Dalts is in double-take mode cos his reality is different from the rest of the world. He knows something that we don’t and he is not telling us.

    INEOS and Dalts have an agreement that specifically mentions the Isle of Wight. The NZ Govt told Dalts something that eliminates Auckland. Other Non-Auckland venues have been given the cold shoulder.

    Didn’t Hercule Poirot have a pied-a-terre in Cowes?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oi yoi yoi. (As my Jewess girlfriend from NY often says)

    We can see the footprints in the sand if we look at the second division yachts. Sail GP was Larry making a grab for the Forumla One of yachting after Bermuda. The AC40 is the countermove and an attempt to make Sail GP irrelevant which it really is given 90 percent of the race is decided 1 second after the start.

    Also, the AC40 really shows us that anybody who (1) can drive a Morris Minor, (2) Is an L-plater and above and (3) can use an iPad will be eligible to join the crew. Talk about “Miss Daisy at the helm”!

    But in the case of the AC75s we need to wait for the next Covid outbreak in 1-2 months time for the CorR to announce that the only viable solution is the Isle of Wight.

    Buy up that old abandoned warehouse just down the road Magnus.

    Liked by 1 person

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