Dalton, Spithill at it again in America's Cup spat

Last updated 11:27 06/06/2014
James Spithill
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OUTSPOKEN: Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill has gone on the offensive after Team NZ boss Grant Dalton pushed for an announcement of America's Cup venue.
Grant Dalton
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TNZ BOSS: Grant Dalton wasn't short of a word about Jimmy Spithill after the Oracle skipper accused him of poor management.

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Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill and Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton are at loggerheads again as the radical America's Cup protocol for the next event is digested.

Dalton continued to implore today that TNZ's crucial fundraising campaign was being stalled by Oracle's inability to name the venue and finer details for the 2017 regatta.

He also believed some of the key changes in the new rules - a smaller foiling catamaran (there would be only one allowed for challengers while Oracle got two), and three less crew - won't reduce costs from the last regatta.

Spithill, an Australian, was never short of opinion when it came to the Kiwi camp, and has gone on the offensive, questioning Team New Zealand's management.

"If the current management team of Team NZ isn't confident they can pull a team together or be competitive and win then maybe the wrong people are running Team NZ," Spithill told TVNZ.

"Anyone that says they can't spend less than last time ... is frankly being poorly managed or maybe giving themselves too big of a pay rise."

Spithill described the protocol, a 78-page document released on Wednesday, as "a big step forward" for the event, believing it would make the regatta commercially sustainable.

"The guy is in la-la land because without a venue, you can't raise the money," Dalton said of Spithill's claims.

"Jimmy has probably never raised sponsorship money in his life.

"Until a date and venue are revealed, you just can't put it all together."

Dalton has plenty of sponsorship interest but they require more details before signing on with Team New Zealand.

In the meantime, there was a requirement to lodge US$1m by August 8, the first half of an entry fee that needed to be topped up by December 1 when an additional US$1m bond would also have to be paid.

Dalton didn't think there was a "dirty tricks" campaign going on, rather than Oracle was taking their time over the venue and trying to maximise what they could get out of that decision.

San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and Bermuda were reportedly on a shortlist with a final decision not expected till the end of the year.

Dalton said TNZ would still need to pour money into smaller development boats earlier than last time, to work on what they could transfer into their one shot at getting the new AC62 right.

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His management were continuing to look into the protocol to weigh up the logistics of challenging again. Often with these comprehensive documents it was a matter of looking behind them and seeing what wasn't written that could still have meaning.

He was clearly eager for TNZ to stay involved.

"In the end it is the best event in the world for sailing and we have to be there."

But that couldn't come at any cost and TNZ have to be sure they believe they can win it.

- Stuff

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