Skipper James Spithill kisses the America's Cup watched by
Oracle team members after beating Team New Zealand to win
the trophy. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Team New Zealand's future hangs in the balance after
Oracle retained the America's Cup yesterday morning, with Grant
Dalton bowing out and the Government yet to decide whether it
will fund another tilt.
Messages of support for the Kiwi team have rolled in since it
lost by match point to Oracle Team USA in San Francisco, with
Prime Minister John Key saying he was very proud and All
Blacks coach Steve Hansen calling the loss ''gutting''.
But despite the support of New Zealanders at home and abroad,
doubts remain about Emirates Team New Zealand's future
because of the cost of mounting another challenge.
The Government is yet to decide whether to fund another
challenge after stumping up $36 million for the most recent
campaign, while Dalton, who indicated he would end his
10-year run with the team, was also uncertain about whether
it would challenge again.
The 56-year-old has been head of Team New Zealand since the
failed campaign in Auckland in 2003, and for some time was
seen as a lucky charm when on board the team's AC72
''It's too early to say,'' Dalton said when asked if the team
would challenge again.
''It will be quite difficult now. I always felt that it would
be difficult for the team to stay together, particularly
Team NZ skipper Dean Barker was ashen in defeat, with his
first words after the race: ''It's very hard to swallow.''
He said the team gave its all.
''We left nothing on the table. We knew that we had a fight
on our hands upwind; sailing a boat that fast is hard to
Barker said he was incredibly proud of the team and what it
''I am gutted we didn't get the last win we needed to take
this cup back to New Zealand.''
Mr Key said the loss was ''gut-wrenching'' but he believed
there would be a lot of pride in New Zealand about the way
the team had conducted itself.
He said decisions were yet to be made about whether the
Government would fund another campaign or to try to ensure
Team NZ could retain key people.
However, he indicated it was likely, and hoped to discuss
whether another campaign was possible. It was too early to
have those discussions, and Team NZ would want to regroup and
think about its next steps first.
Mr Key said he believed the $36 million pumped into the
campaign was well spent, but it was not just about what the
Government was willing to do.
''There's a lot of things you have to consider before you put
taxpayers' money on the line.''