We haven’t seen a press release like this since the 1983 America’s Cup. It’s properly ugly now as Team New Zealand goes over the top with specific details of a Zoom call, allegedly initiated by Mark Dunphy and an email sent to the Commodore of the New York Yacht Club by legal eagle Hamish Ross with Dunphy cc’d, lobbying the club to support the removal of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes as the Challenger of Record. I’m speechless.
What’s most galling, and will no doubt have members spluttering on their pink gins is that both Dunphy and Ross are themselves members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – the very club whose processes to select a venue they were trying to undermine. In my locale, you’d be drummed out of the club, asked to return your membership card and told never to sully the premises again.
And what of the Kiwi public now who have had their hopes dashed, seemingly of a defence on home waters? The Kiwi Home Defence project is surely over and that’s a nasty trick to pull on ordinary people. I still contest that the very tenet and message of that campaign is spot on and absolutely correct but the way things have unfolded is simply downright disappointing. And as Grant Dalton says: “ETNZ is disappointed by Mark Dunphy’s underhanded and deceitful attempts to undermine the RNZYS, ETNZ and the RYS with his despicable actions.” Ouch – ‘underhanded’ , ‘deceitful’ , and ‘despicable’ are strong words to put in a single sentence.
Trust has left town in a Ferrari with fire coming out of its exhaust. Hope is evaporating in the locked-down Kiwi public and this is a regrettable chapter in the story of AC37. We’re all now waiting for the smoking gun proof of contact with Ernesto Bertarelli and Larry Ellison – Team New Zealand wouldn’t name those guys without specific evidence – and so the big reveal of that, if it happens, might well be the final depressing nail in the coffin of this whole saga.
Who the whistle-blower is, is anyone’s guess but never underestimate the strength of the relationships between the yacht clubs involved and the inter-connected nature of the America’s Cup community at the very apex of the Great Game. It’s been an incredible week and it’s only Wednesday. Who knows where we will be by Friday?
My suspicion is that it’s Game Over now for the Kiwi Home Defence project but I, and I suspect you too, would love another twist in this tale. Fingers crossed heh?
EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND AND RNZYS REVEAL DAMNING DETAILS BEHIND THE ‘TEAM DUNPHY’ BID
Yesterday Mr Dunphy clearly stated in a press release that direct claims by Emirates Team New Zealand about his off shore dealings were ‘false’. However despite both private and public requests for direct answers there has been nothing more than general sweeping press statements and an avoidance to directly answer our specific questions:
-Did you have a call with a member of the NYYC who is directly involved with the America’s Cup where you asked for their support to file an action in the New York Supreme Court to
challenging the validity of Royal Yacht Squadron as Challenger of Record?
-Did you advise the NYYC member that you have the financial support of Ernesto Bertarelli and have also been communicating with Larry Ellison?
-Have you had any meetings with any persons who represent or could be deemed to represent a rival team intending to enter AC37? Was Hamish Ross representing you when he lobbied the NYYC via email to instigate an action in the New York Supreme Court ?
If it was intended that yesterday’s statement is a denial then Mr Dunphy should look at his Zoom call register and refresh his memory as the call was initiated by him. Emirates Team New Zealand were briefed in full on all discussion points immediately after the call in early September and have a record of it.
Furthermore, Emirates Team New Zealand now release details of an email (dated 26/8/21) to the Commodore of the NYYC from Dr. Hamish Ross with Mr Dunphy (both members of the RNZYS) in direct copy. Dr Ross was formally a legal counsel with Alinghi during their 2003, 2007 and 2010 campaigns. The email clearly outlines their intentional lobbying of the NYYC to take legal action in the New York Supreme Court against the Challenger of Record with a purpose of intentionally disrupting the venue selection process.
In the email, Dr. Ross outlines his representation: “I am assisting a group of prominent New
Zealanders seeking to keep the next America’s Cup event in Auckland..”
It continues: “Through me, the group in NZL are asking the NYYC Club, in fulfilment of its supervisory role, to challenge RYSL over its bona fides as a qualified challenger. This may require an interpretation of the Deed to provide clarity for all concerned. The first step would be sending the challenger RYSL a letter and, if there is an unsatisfactory response, seeking an interpretation from the NY Supreme Court. Seeking an interpretation would disrupt the venue selection which is due to be announced on 17 September 2021. Given time is of the essence, I have taken the liberty of preparing a suggested form of letter as a starting point for consideration.
Assuming RYSL cannot qualify as a challenger, the NYYC’s challenge of 7 May 2021 as the next qualified challenge filed after RYSL’s challenge, would cause NYYC to become the next COR, with the new Protocol to be agreed between RNZYS and the NYYC.”
That challenge was in fact delivered personally to the RNZYS Commodore on behalf of NYYC by Dr Hamish Ross.
The actions of Mr Dunphy and Dr Hamish Ross clearly do not represent the best and honest
intentions towards the RNZYS and Emirates Team New Zealand as they portray in their press releases and in public.
Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said, “ Emirates Team New Zealand is disappointed by Mark Dunphy’s underhanded and deceitful attempts to undermine the RNZYS, ETNZ and the RYS with his despicable actions. We gave him every opportunity to tell us himself, but he chose not to and as far as we are concerned this puts an end to a regrettable chapter in AC37. We applaud Commodore Culver and the NYYC for wanting no part and rejecting Mr Ross and Mr Dunphy’s overtures.”
“The RNZYS is our representative club, we support them and I have no doubt the club will find this incredibly disappointing and will have their own process to deal with this situation.”
Emirates Team New Zealand and RNZYS have decided to cease all correspondence and any dealings with Mr Dunphy based on clear evidence of his and his associate Dr. Hamish Ross’s conflicted actions that they have refused to come clean on.