Dalts' dream comes true
Following much ‘will they, won’t they?’ so Emirates Team New Zealand will be entering the 2011-12 with a campaign run under the joint burgees of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Real Club Náutico de Palma with backing from Spanish international footwear manufacturer, Camper.
The Emirates Team New Zealand design team, headed by principal designer Marcelino Botin, will design the yacht – Botin has experience penning VO70s, as he designed il mostro for Ken Read’s Puma team in the last race. The new Camper boat will, like all other Emirates Team NZ boats, be built by Cookson Yachts in Auckland with a launch date of the first quarter of 2011.
Grant Dalton (right) with his no2 Kevin Shoebridge, who skippered Tyco in the Volvo Ocean Race
Emirates Team New Zealand Managing Director, Grant Dalton said: “The team has no shortage of experience with the Volvo Ocean Race and the Whitbread Round-the-World race before it.
“The Volvo project instantly energises our team, allows our designers and engineers to get going and in Camper we have found a great partner. They are a family company with family values and a culture that fits very well with Emirates Team New Zealand and our family of sponsors.
“The team has the capacity to integrate a Volvo Ocean Race campaign to sit alongside its commitments to the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas, the Audi MedCup 2010 and the next America’s Cup.
“There is some certainty in the America’s Cup following BMW Oracle Racing’s defeat of Alinghi. It’s apparent that with the timing of the America’s Cup, either 2013 or 2014, Emirates Team New Zealand can comfortably integrate a Volvo campaign into its operations. Grant Dalton said a Volvo Ocean Race campaign was a natural fit for the team.
“Our objective, once the team had re-established its credentials, was always to diversify as a means of keeping our people busy, focused and creative.
“With Louis Vuitton, the team started the Louis Vuitton Trophy, Dean Barker and the team campaigned successfully on the Audi MedCup TP52 circuit last year and now we have a Volvo Ocean Race campaign to organise from scratch.”
With the Volvo Ocean Race starting in Spain, but with stopovers including Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, so the event will tie in nicely with Team New Zealand’s principle sponsor, Emirates Airlines.
Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communication, Boutros Boutros, said: “We are very pleased to continue our support of Emirates Team New Zealand through this venture.
“It will add a further dimension to the global reach of our sponsorship of the team, which has already been very successful for Emirates through the America’s Cup, the Louis Vuitton Trophy and the Audi MedCup.
“With this latest diversification, there are many benefits for the team, for New Zealand, and for Emirates, as well of course for Camper.
“It will be fantastic to see the team competing in the United Arab Emirates, the home country of Emirates, when the Volvo Ocean Race comes to the capital city of Abu Dhabi. It will be a good opportunity to showcase what the UAE can offer in terms of five-star infrastructure, tourism and business attractions.
Camper is a family-owned company started in 1975 by Lorenzo Fluxa, although its origins date back to the 1870s when Fluxa’s grandfather was making shoes at his factory in Inca, Majorca in the 1870s. Today Camper operates directly 320 stores and ‘shop-in-shop’ locations in 42 countries and distributes its products through 2800 independent retailers. Camper has been a supplier sponsor to several yachting events in Majorca such as Copa del Rey.
In announcing the Volvo Ocean Race project, Camper said: “Competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011–12 provides Camper with the motivation to continue improving the quality of its products and its presence around the world.
“The history and the authenticity of the race, the human adventure, the effort, the desire to improve and the teamwork fully fit the Camper values.
“The Mediterranean as a territory and as a culture has always been at the centre of the Camper image. From Alicante this round-the-world race will be, without a doubt, a strong source of inspiration for the future of a brand that walks with imagination.
“For us it is a privilege to take our first steps in the Volvo Ocean Race together with Emirates Team New Zealand, undoubtedly one of the most prestigious professional sailing teams in the world. Despite New Zealand being in the antipodes of Majorca, we feel very close to them sharing their way of thinking and so Emirates Team New Zealand makes us feel confident when undertaking this project.”
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said: “We are delighted to welcome Grant Dalton and Emirates Team New Zealand to the Volvo Ocean Race, which gives us our first proper New Zealand entry for many years.”
“Dalton, a former winner of this event, brings with him not only a wealth of experience, but a very charismatic and highly competitive team of sailors.The people of Auckland will surely be very proud to watch the progress of Emirates Team New Zealand as it takes on some of the world’s best.
“I would also like to welcome Camper to the Volvo Ocean Race family. We look forward to working with their strong international brand, elevating the profile of their new team and our race.”
The big question that remains is over who will skipper the Camper VO70. Significantly Dalton has said he will not be on board the boat himself, but when he says there is no shortage of round the world experience within their sailing squad – it is not as plentiful as it once was back in the days when Cup sailors could comfortably step across to the VOR and then back to the Cup again.
It would be a new experience for skipper Dean Barker. If they are to keep their Louis Vuitton Trophy and TP52 campaigns alive while the Volvo Ocean Race is running, then it seems likely Barker will continue to skipper their inshore boats while someone else runs the VO70. Within their present ranks favourite is certainly Ray Davies who was to skipper a Mean Machine entry in the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race with a largely Team NZ crew, until that campaign stalled when they failed to attract funding. Davies previously won the Volvo Ocean Race with John Kostecki on board illbruck in 2001-2 and was second with Grant Dalton on Merit Cup in 1997-8.
Within Volvo circles, the hottest properties remain former Team New Zealanders Stu Bannatyne and Brad Jackson, the watch leaders on Torben Grael’s 2008-9 VOR winner Ericsson 4, although Jackson is rumoured to have already signed on to skipper Puma.
Any more thoughts? Try out our nice 'comments' box below.