Gracie Mille Prada

By all accounts both on and off the record, Grant Dalton put on a pretty damned fine excellent display at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s AGM, proving beyond doubt that it’s good to talk. The members listened, challenged but understood the sponsorship and sporting environment that one of history’s great Cup operators is working under. This isn’t easy – if it were, we would all be doing it – but the world has changed, even from March 2021, and New Zealand is downright lucky to have Dalts in charge right now. I get a sense that the RNZYS members concur with that.

©KOS Picture Source /

The emotive view, which I find incongruously still being promoted by esteemed and clever lawyers that should, and are normally, devoid of any recognisable human emotion or empathy, is that it’s a God-given right and downright scandalous for the Cup to be held anywhere other than Auckland. Leave that kind of soap-box nonsense to the likes of me.

Of course, m’learned friends are bang on right in normal, usual, more straitened times but are behind the eight-ball in current circumstances. What Dalton did was highlight just how hard it is to operate and what a dearth of direct team sponsorship, from an enforced lack of face-to-face meetings due to travel restrictions, really looks like. It’s ugly. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. But he’s deeply, unwaveringly loyal to his long term supporters in Emirates Airlines, Toyota and Omega and that’s to be applauded. As is their support in return.

©Emirates Team New Zealand / C Cameron

And Team New Zealand’s refusal to mediate with the Kiwi Home Defence project was equally straightforward – pipes of peace aren’t going to be smoked, fireside chats aren’t going to be forthcoming and dreams of being white knights to the rescue of a stranded damsel in distress are but for the fairytale books. It’s over. Full square. Over. Move on. As an observer, I do think they should be politely and publicly thanked for their efforts and offers but again, I think Dalts and his Board at TNZ are well past platitudes, sad as that is.

But the good news, the really good news is that Prada have exercised their option to sponsor the Challenger selector series and thank goodness for that. Thank you Patrizio Bertelli and the Prada family. Gracie Mille. Gracie Bella.

What a fabulous supporter of the Cup Patrizio is and even in the darkest hour of recent times for the Cup and its future, he’s stuck by the event to go again. Will we see patrons like this in the future? I fear not – he’s one of the great patrons of our sport and it’s a heck of a thing for him to be sponsoring again. Brilliant.

With Prada onboard, there’s certainty and glamour back on the table that should make things easier for ACE to negotiate with venues – I mean who wouldn’t want a global brand that is achingly cool displayed all over their town or city? It’s a big deal not to be underplayed.

©COR36 /Studio Borlenghi

And equally, the inter-play between Dalton and Jim Ratcliffe, widely reported as being a very positive engagement, was encapsulated by the reveal that the Ineos boss was texting just ahead of the meeting.

Make no mistake, Dalton is the kind of no-nonsense bruiser that Ratcliffe likes – long term you could see those two working together on something – so it’s no surprise that the relationship is so strong but what’s abundantly clear is that no Ineos money is going to be forthcoming and why should there be? Ineos Sports Group is about doing the impossible against the odds and this is a full-on tilt for the trophy. You’ve got to admire that. Ratcliffe isn’t some dumb guy that got lucky – he’s a grafter from Manchester who wins at everything he does. Dalton may well have met his match.

©ACE / Studio Borlenghi

But what’s absolutely clear is that the next America’s Cup is on track. My view from everything I’m hearing is that behind the scenes it’s alive and well. Difficult yes. Impossible, no. The members of the RNZYS were left in no doubt about that. Once we have the venue announcement (or announcements) out of the way, it’s down to business. Alinghi are calling a press briefing on the 14th December and we’ll know a whole lot more about what they’ve got lined up. The story should now be all about the challengers – the defender story has run its course.

AC37 is going global and you ain’t seen nothing yet. Dalton is playing a blinder.

14 thoughts on “Gracie Mille Prada

  1. A well thought out Blog Post. Well done Magnus!
    And I agree you gotta admire Patrizio pumping $$$ into it with the Prada Brand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not giving the person you’re supposed to be working with any money even when they need it badly and it would be pocket change to you? Oh yes, that’s certainly admirable behavior… /s


  3. Having watched the highlights reel of the Saudi F1 even Blind Freddie could see that it was based on the dystopian Blade Runner movies. The actual venue could have been anywhere in the solar system.

    If the F1 is the dream for AC, does anyone have the queasy feeling I get, like when someone mentions Squid Games?

    Auckland, a truly beautiful city, I cry for you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I agree. You will know that outside of Auckland they are called JAFAs which means Just Another Fantastic Aucklander?

        Many years ago they were also known as Rangitoto Yanks but this has dropped out of use. I am someone who loves Americans so I always liked it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Neo, calm down, we all know Formula 1 isn’t real and was only invented for the 2012 animated series “Tooned”.


      1. Good point Kai and I believe this to be true. But really Sail GP and AC are already ‘toonish.

        And yes Magnus I did glister that tag a little. You probably know it is a play on Jaffas the round orange-coated sweet that all Kiwis have rolled down the tilted wooden floors of movie theatres. (Chocolate core with a hard surface).


      2. I was playing on the Internet meme where people say things like “New York isn’t real, it’s a fictional city made up for Spider-Man comics” or “You know lawyers don’t really exist and they were made up for John Grisham novels, right?”

        Formula 1, clearly, is a fictional sport invented for the Tooned animated show, no more real than Quidditch or Podracing. 😉


  4. Having attended the meeting by zoom, I concur with your report Magnus.
    It was fiery, full of very tense moments, but brilliantly choreographed by Commodore Aaron Young, & CE Hayden Porter.
    Jim Farmer was allowed to speak, as was Dunphy, but Dalts really had the final say, when, after requesting not to be sued, spilled the affidavit out of NYYC that clearly showed the depths to which Dunphy was prepared to go, to destroy the ETNZ & RNZYS rights.
    Hopefully everyone now realises that a “no strings attached” $50mill is still missing, from the budget required to successfully run a defender campaign & the Cup, and is extremely difficult to raise.
    Well done Grant, as you say, for coping with all the madness that inevitably seems to follow the A Cup.
    Oh for Bob Fisher to still be around, to be part of all this!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Too bad all the stuff about Prada signing on isn’t true…

    “For the moment Prada has only exercised its right to negotiate a possible renewal of the naming and sponsorship agreement, as soon as the place and dates of the 37th BC will be announced “.

    This corrects yesterday’s claims made by ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton, and reported by some New Zealand media, that the deal had already been concluded.

    The smart money would bet that, like Emirates airline, AC36 didn’t meet the minimum requirements of the marketing contract, so they’ll get AC37 free…


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