HAMILTON, BER – To absolutely nobody's surprise, and as first revealed weeks ago by SAILING ILLUSTRATED, the new AC36 Defender, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has accepted a challenge from Circolo della Vela Sicilia (Sailing Club of Sicily, Italy or "CVS") with Patrizio Bertelli's Luna Rossa, aka Prada, as their representative team. This was announced a short time ago by ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton, who read a statement from the RNZYS at the post race press conference. The brief statement also said that other challenges would be accepted under terms to be announced "in due course." When asked, repeatedly, about details of planning for AC36, Dalton said (and as SI also reported weeks ago) that while they have a tentative plan some weeks are needed to consult with their COR, ETNZ sailors, supporters, sponsors and design team, and others before making further announcements. He added that he did not support the two-year turn-around advocated by Russell Coutts, and he seemed to imply that "pumping oil around the boat" did not make a lot of sense for AC36.
Dalton also announced that ETNZ would likely remain in Bermuda until Sunday, celebrating and then packing up, before flying to Dubai for celebrations with their title sponsor, Emirates Airline. They plan to arrive back in New Zealand on or about July 5th – a week from this Wednesday.
ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton at today's final press conference in Bermuda.