Dogged Dalton plays influential role in Bermuda
No-one more deserving if Team NZ can return Cup to Auckland.
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.