America's Cup Leader Team New Zealand Could Heat Up Nationality Rule Debate
With Team New Zealand holding "a huge lead heading into the final stages of the America's Cup," what the team will do with the competition if it goes on to defeat Team USA "remains unclear," according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. Team New Zealand Managing Dir Grant Dalton has "made two things clear." He wants the "cost of competing in the next edition of the Cup to be considerably less expensive in order to attract more teams." He also "wants to restore a nationality rule." The nationality debate has "long been contentious in the Cup." For now, hulls must be "manufactured in the nation of the challenging yacht club, but there is no nationality restriction on sailors involved." That is why Oracle, which represents San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club and the U.S., can "compete with just one American." This is in keeping with Oracle Racing Owner Larry Ellison's "global approach to talent recruitment." Dalton and Team New Zealand have a "different vision" and nine of their starting crew members are New Zealanders. Former Team USA tactician Gary Jobson said, "It’s a very homogeneous crew, while Ellison’s got an international free-agency crew. I strongly believe that the America’s Cup Deed of Gift was written as a friendly competition between foreign countries, and I think the American boat should have all Americans, the New Zealand boat ought to have all Kiwis, and the French boat should have all French." The question is "how strong a rule." Fulfilling Jobson’s vision and creating "full Olympic-style national teams would probably discourage teams from emerging sailing nations like China and South Korea." Former French America’s Cup helmsman Bruno Troublé said, "Grant Dalton’s idea, from what I understand after talking to him, would be to have a weaker nationality rule for newcomers, for new countries, which seems fair" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).