Grant Dalton, the force behind Emirates Team New Zealand, is back in the saddle again. Since the conclusion of the America’s Cup two-and-a-half months ago, Dalton has been aggressively wooing sponsors and recruiting members for the next Cup Challenge.
Dalton (and many Cup observers) had believed that the 2014 Cup Challenge would be the last for the EMTZ leader. However, public support for another run as a challenger plus the enthusiasm of the core EMTZ members has caused him to fully throw himself into the creation of the next EMTZ team.
For Dalton and EMTZ, the question of when the next Challenge will be and the type of boats will be sailed is not nearly as important as getting the sponsorship backing. The cost of the 2014 Cup drove many prospective teams from placing a boat in the challenger series. Sponsors want to see a return on their investment, something which was hard to do considering the costs of the 2014 campaigns.
Most Cup watchers believe that the expense of staging a team through the next challenge will be significantly less, allowing more teams to participate from the World Series to the Cup Finals. Dalton believes that by March of 2015 the EMTZ sponsorship program should be finalized, and then the team can train and acquire new boats.
So the future, as Dalton sees it, is to finalize sponsorships, sign the critical team members and sail at least two boats in the World Series. A big challenge, but Grant Dalton is one of the few men who can do it.
Have fun, be safe and get out on the water.