Dogged Dal­ton plays in­flu­en­tial role in Ber­muda

No-one more de­serv­ing if Team NZ can re­turn Cup to Auck­land.

Sunday Star-Times - - SPORT - June 25, 2017

OPINION: No-one will be more re­lieved or de­serv­ing if Team New Zealand can win the Amer­ica’s Cup than Grant Dal­ton.

The team’s chief ex­ec­u­tive has pur­posely kept a low pro­file since emerg­ing bruised and bat­tered from the of­ten bit­ter wash-up to the San Fran­cisco de­feat four years ago.

But inside the team he has re­mained as vig­i­lant and in­flu­en­tial as ever. Whether it’s on the bow of the chase boat or in a chair at the board­room table, the craggy Dal­ton has over­seen ev­ery move that has taken the syn­di­cate to within a sniff of vic­tory in Ber­muda.

A po­lar­is­ing fig­ure in an al­ways con­tro­ver­sial code, the heart of the mat­ter is there would be no Team New Zealand with­out Dal­ton.

He raised the team out of the ashes of the hor­ror 2003 de­feat in Auck­land, and he kept them afloat in the wake of the near miss of Va­len­cia in 2007 when Alinghi and Or­a­cle then went to war in the courts and even­tu­ally gi­ant mul­ti­hulls.

Some­how Dal­ton even man­aged a res­cue mis­sion when the fall­out from San Fran­cisco and the end­less changes in the cur­rent Cup struc­ture threat­ened to sink the Inside the team he has re­mained as vig­i­lant and in­flu­en­tial as ever. syn­di­cate.

In a game where money mat­ters, Dal­ton knows how to find it where oth­ers can’t. He is a mas­ter fundraiser, trans­fer­ring that skill from his mul­ti­ple and suc­cess­ful round the world cam­paigns into the cut-throat Cup arena.

He also knows how to work a bud­get and Team New Zealand’s cam­paign has been run on a shoe­string com­pared to some of their ri­vals.

To do that and re­main com­pet­i­tive speaks a lot about the lead­er­ship in an or­gan­i­sa­tion where they have mixed goodwill and ge­nius to be at the head of the fleet go­ing into the fi­nal week.

The straight-talk­ing Dal­ton has had to muz­zle him­self at times. The Cup bosses have even moved to en­sure he does so, wary of hav­ing their pre­cious sys­tems crit­i­cised.

If Dal­ton can be­come king, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if he does re­veal some of the twists and turns the syn­di­cate has had to en­dure over the past four years.

The Cup has been a fruit­less en­deav­our for many a mil­lion­aire.

It’s been some­thing of a per­sonal cru­sade for Dal­ton, but one which he sol­diered at with na­tional pride and a de­sire to show­case the coun­try’s yachting ta­lent and ma­rine in­dus­try.

He’s never been afraid to make some tough de­ci­sions. Ask Dean Barker and some other vet­er­ans.

He’s never been afraid to make some bold de­ci­sions. Look at Peter Burl­ing and the fresh wave of ta­lent in Ber­muda on board a one-of-a kind boat.

De­spite his own suc­cesses, he’s of­ten had to op­er­ate in the shadow of Kiwi yachting greats like Sir Peter Blake and Sir Rus­sell Coutts.

A Team New Zealand vic­tory this week would be more than a vic­tory in perserver­ance. It would re­alise a dream for a de­serv­ing Dal­ton.

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