Reduced budget will result in defeat, says Dalton

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:02 15/01/2014
Cup
GRANT DALTON: "Oracle are saying they think it will cost US$80m. Yes, you could probably do it for US$80m, but you're not going to win it. That's to compete."

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Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton does not expect the costs of another America's Cup campaign to reduce from the $120 million spent on last year's failed attempt.

While it has been suggested team budgets from last year's event in San Francisco will be reduced next time around, Dalton said the reality of spending less than US$100m would yield one very simple result - defeat.

"I think we're playing with similar numbers to last time," Dalton said.

"There's an attempt to reduce cost but we need to invest a little harder. I think the tops will be knocked off the big budgets for example, but I can't see our costs reducing.

"Oracle are saying they think it will cost US$80m. Yes, you could probably do it for US$80m, but you're not going to win it. That's to compete.

"There's always a compete cost and a win cost and I think the number is more realistically like US$100m."

Unveiling Olympic silver medal duo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke as Team NZ's latest signings yesterday, Dalton also said 29 staffers from last year's defeated crew have been retained, thanks largely to $5m in public funding already granted by the government.

Dalton said the government, particularly Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Prime Minister John Key, have both expressed support for Team NZ going forward.

"Steven and I have talked about the year ahead, the economic report which they will put out in the public domain shortly, corporate governance and the board of directors," he said.

"A comment he made to me was 'I want to stay really close to this, Grant', we're going to get together next week because government going forward are a key part.

"We have to have them or we will not survive.

"Steven really gets it, and so does the Prime Minister.

"The way that deal is structured at the moment is there's an initial $5m, which we're burning our way through with [retaining] our people, which will last us a fair while yet, we report very stringently every month how we're spending that money to the government, it's under the deal," he said.

"There's a review that's about to be started for the funding going forward."

Awaiting details of the exact racing terms for the next America's Cup, Dalton said Team NZ is hopeful the regatta will return to San Francisco.

"We don't know for sure, but our feel for it talking to the challenger of record, the Australians, is that it will be in 2017, probably in San Francisco and certainly multi-hulls.

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"Not the AC72's we raced in San Francisco last year, they were too expensive, too dangerous and too high-tech."

Meanwhile, new additions Tuke and Burling said they were excited about joining the senior America's Cup crew, though both acknowledged a significant workload lies ahead in balancing the job with preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

- Fairfax Media

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