Last week, BYM News came across some papers, about the America's Cup, written by Professor Roger Boshier, of the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Having read these papers, BYM News contacted Professor Boshier and asked if he would be prepared to answer questions, aimed at providing better understanding of ETNZ's America's Cup campaign.
Professor Boshier - a New Zealander, currently in Valencia, where he has been doing some research for Grant Dalton and sending out a newsletter, called Schnack-Net - agreed, but instead of responding directly to BYM News, he published modified versions of the questions and his answers in his Schnack-Net newsletter.
BYM News is publishing its original questions and Professor Boshier's responses and wishes to make it clear that the views expressed are, entirely, those of the Professor and have not been edited in any way.
Two more BYM questions were "The AC is a fascinating sporting event, to people who are not sailors and often have little interest in sailing, because of the intrigue, the glamour and the personalities.
ETNZ appears to go out of its way to keep itself to itself, keep down the glamour side and present a "we are all in this together approach" that prevents any individuals standing out as personalities.
Why has ETNZ taken this approach and is it good for the America's Cup and the sport of sailing generally?"
and "Most AmCup syndicates have put on some sort of show for the public, but ETNZ has been very low key, with locked doors and a bare entrance. There seems to be a determination to be a "grey team" (Even the goods in the shop are grey). The contrast between - at the extreme poles of syndicate finances - BMW Oracle's fun filled public area and China Team's great viewing lounge/restaurant is stark. NZ Government sponsorship must have been partly based on attracting tourists to the country, so why wasn't the Tourist Board ensconced in that empty ground floor, with huge posters of the beautiful NZ countryside and a range of great New Zealand products on sale. Why were the shirts etc in dull grey; we even overheard a Kiwi say 'I'm not buying one of those, beats me why they aren't spinnaker red.'
NZ Government support is likely to continue to be crucial if TNZ is to challenge again, wouldn't a more welcoming public front, buzzing with people buying goods and wanting to learn about NZ, have made continued support more likely?"
Professor Boshier presented the questions and answered in Schnack-Net like this:
WHAT ABOUT THE AC “FAMILY” AND SUPPRESION OF STAND-OUT PERSONALITIES ?
Back in the days of Vanderbilt, Sopwith, Lipton, Bond and Big-Bad-Dennis, there were sharp personalities and enjoyable conflict.
There are still big personalities (e.g. Bertelli, Ellison) but they are more restrained than before.
Hence, post-race press conferences are a yawn. Nothing gets said.
However, there is a lot of goodwill in Valencia. We have yet to see one punch or a single drunken yahoo. Not one raised voice (except ours, when addressing Brad!). During the Luna Rossa/ETNZ contest, there were many warm exchanges between the two sides.
The exception would be the U.S. There is not a single U.S. flag in Valencia and, at this Cup, it feels like the end of an era. It might be the “America’s” Cup but has become a small-country contest.
Big countries waging war lack the moral imperative needed for a Cup contest.
Ellison thinks it is mostly about money. Having got started working for the CIA he continues building software for the U.S. military-industrial complex and its war machine. He sleeps on a shaky moral foundation.
It would be more fun if big personalities were let off the leash. If New Zealand takes races from Alinghi it might happen
Regarding locked doors at ETNZ, Grant’s task is to win races, not entertain the public.
You feel ETNZ are the “low key” or “grey” team. You like Oracle’s “fun-filled public area” and the viewing place atop the China Team.
We also like the China Team but Oracle’s “fun-filled area?” Excuse me! Look on the walls of the “fun-filled area” and there’s the chronology of Larry’s work for the world’s premier intelligence organization – the good ol’ “weapons-of-mass destruction” C.I.A. Say no more.
Therein is the difference. Oracle opts for the CIA and Disneyland and stodgy old Grant thinks it’s about winning boat races.
Could the proof of the pudding be on the race course?
On the black shirt, grey shirt question, that has not been settled. But, much as we love the Spanish, kiwis will never walk around in Desafio luminescent green!
WHAT ABOUT NZ GOVERNMENT SUPPORT AND KIWI BUZZ?
Because of the “reforms” of the 1980s, New Zealand government offices overseas lost the plot.
Instead of focusing on culture, they switched to trade.
Instead of old-timers who knew culture they sent out MBA-types who think much like Coutts or Butterworth and spout on about globalisation. They are not very effective and mostly hopeless when it comes to involving expatriates.
The way to build trade and encourage tourism is to give people a good time. Put kiwi culture (very broadly defined) in the wheelbarrow in front. Do not try and prematurely ink trade deals or go for the money. Cultural must come before human capital.
We have already given New Zealand authorities in Madrid a spanking for not doing more in Valencia. However, a little bird tells us that, now ETNZ is the challenger, there may be something in the works.
Having buzzy bee on the bulb of NZL-84 is a stroke of genius. It happened after Grant polled syndicate members asking for input.
Could New Zealand authorities do more in Valencia? Yes !
But, Grant has to keep his eye on the ball.
It is not a syndicate responsibility.
BYM News asked "3 out of 4 of the LV winning ETNZ afterguard are not from New Zealand, the boat is designed by an Englishman, assisted by an American and a Spaniard. Yet the Kiwis maintain that nationality rules must be brought back.
Why is it OK to have non-Kiwis on a non-Kiwi designed boat now, but would not be in the future?
Professor Boshier said in Schnack-Net:
WHAT ABOUT NATIONALITY RULES?
Yep, bring ‘em back. Then New Zealand is absolutely certain to win!
There are Americans in the afterguard of NZL-92 because, after Bertarelli embraced a bordless form of globalisation, contenders had to get the best.
Because Butterworth insisted on living in Switzerland and made no move to rejoin the kiwi effort, Grant did what he had to do (and hopefully Terry Hutchinson – greatly appreciated aboard the kiwi boat - is about to crush Butterworth where it hurts).
In North America, professional sport is in trouble partly because there is not one Torontonian in the Toronto Raptors. Or any Vancouverites in the Vancouver Canucks. There are certainly no ducks or anyone from Anaheim in the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
New Zealanders want to see New Zealanders on our Cup crews. And, as you know, we’ve got the best!
There is no contradiction in having foreigners on NZL-92 and going back to some kind of nationality rules.
It is, after all, a “friendly contest between nations.”