Thursday, September 20, 2007

Team New Zealand star staying with syndicate

Team New Zealand strategist Ray Davies will remain with the syndicate for the next America's Cup.
It had been reported that Davies, one of the stand-out performers in Valencia, had signed with Russell Coutts BMW Oracle Racing. However, the strategist has been spotted at the Team New Zealand base over the past couple of days.
It is understood all of the Team New Zealand sailors who competed in the match against Alinghi have signed letters of intent to stay or signed new contracts. A number of the sailors have yet to return to New Zealand following the cup, choosing to stay in Europe and compete in various regattas such as the TP52 circuit.
The Davies rumours surfaced a month ago. Davies, whose weather calls made him one of the stars of the last cup, was to have competed in next year's round-the-world race. However, the team he was to compete in fell over, allowing Davies to return to Team New Zealand.
The $10 million the New Zealand Government gave Team New Zealand has allowed them to re-sign the people they want. With the introduction of new 90ft boats, the syndicate is working to strengthen its design team.
Senior members of Team New Zealand, including managing director Grant Dalton, have been in Europe for the past 10 days involved in design meetings relating to the new cup boats.
New America's Cup rules prevent teams from two-boat testing, which means syndicates will require fewer sailors. It means those that sailed on Team New Zealand's B boat in the last cup will be lost to other syndicates. One is Ben Ainslie, who has joined Origin Challenge. -