Extending the deadline

An update from Team New Zealand

Wednesday March 31st 2004, Author: Warren Douglas, Location: Australasia
Today was in theory the deadline for Team New Zealand to announce their sponsors and official get the ball rolling for their challenge for the 2007 America's Cup.

Grant Dalton says: "Team New Zealand's objectives by March 31 2004 were

- to have sufficient funding commitments for a winning New Zealand challenge for the 2007 America's Cup
- to have contracted key people to the team
- to be well advanced in planning the team's programme to Valencia 2007

We are very close to meeting those objectives. However merely turning up in Valencia and doing our best with the resources available was never a serious prospect. We owe it to our supporters - financial or otherwise - to delay any decision on competing until we are confident we can mount a winning challenge."

Dalton adds that they are very close to that position - but not close enough.

While Team New Zealand are behind schedule with their fund raising, roughly 60 people are now contracted to them, including 20 new faces and a more international assortment of talent than before. The 22-strong design team (!) is complete, the sailing team almost complete while the shore team will come later. The design team met recently and TNZ say they plan to allocate more budget to mast and sail development this time round, including the development of a 'version 5' rig.

Meanwhile Team New Zealand's four boats are undergoing surgery. The sidedecks on the 2003 generation boats are being replaced with new ones fabricated by Hakes Marine in Wellington. These modifications will be finished in June. Work is also being carried out on NZL57 and 60 in order that the former can be sold and the latter chartered.

Team New Zealand have also secured the use of GER68, the illbruck German America's Cup challenge that was built for the last Cup, but never completed. The reason for this rather than continuing to race NZL81 and 82 is that GER68 is "a narrow boat like Alinghi, OneWorld and Oracle" and will enable the team to find out where they went wrong last time.

If all goes according to plan NZL82 will be coming to Europe this autumn to compete in the America's Cup 2007 first 'Acts' in Marseilles and Valencia.

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