Team NZ need certainty some within 2 weeks

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 08:04 03/10/2013

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America's Cup

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Team New Zealand say they need some assurance on their future within a fortnight to avoid being stripped of their intellectual property and sailing crew.

The Government has indicated a willingness to discuss public funding for another America's Cup campaign after providing $36 million for the just-completed regatta in San Francisco where Team New Zealand lost a pulsating final to Oracle.

Skipper Dean Barker, Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton and chief operations office Kevin Shoebridge will now sit down and map out what would be required to keep Team New Zealand on life support.

Long-term sponsorships will need to be found but the immediate target is to keep key people on the books and avoid them being poached by rivals.

Most of the Team New Zealand contracts are about to expire, making members vulnerable to offshore raids.

"I now have to deal with the vultures coming after my guys," Dalton said.

"This is a brutal game. It's like trying to take organs from a person when they aren't actually quite dead - while St Johns is trying to do CPR to keep them alive."

With the new Australian challenger of record, Hamilton Island Yacht Club, indicating that catamarans were likely to remain in the frame, Team New Zealand's designers will be particularly vulnerable to overtures from rival syndicates.

And the likelihood that no nationality rules will be reintroduced to the makeup of teams will also leave the sailing crew at risk.

Team New Zealand will need to swing into action swiftly.

They had to endure a six-year break between the last two cup campaigns as Oracle engineered a successful one-off challenge against Alinghi in 2010.

But the three-year cycle is set to return to the America's Cup, meaning pressure for decisions and commitments.

An official welcome home for Team New Zealand will be held at Shed 10 on the Auckland waterfront tomorrow. Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce will attend.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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