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America's Cup: DutchSail makes funding progress

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 22 Apr 15:25 BST 1 February 2019
Eelco Blok (CEO) and Simeon Tienpont (Skipper) - America's Cup - DutchSail visit Auckland, February 15, 2019 © Richard Gladwell

One of the three Late Challengers for the 36th America's Cup, the Simeon Tienpont led DutchSail appears to be making good progress towards its funding objectives.

In an interview with Dutch sailing magazine, skipper Simeon Tienpont says that their Crowdfunding program which offers 1000 shares in the America's Cup program, requiring an investment of €100 per month for 24 months, has been 50% subscribed.

A twice America's Cup champion, and Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Tienpont told Zielen.NL that a lot of SME's (Small and Medium size Enterprises) had purchased certificated with Dutchsail Foundation. "It is nevertheless a way of crowdfunding within companies. 1000 certificates still yields 2.4 million cash. It is a piece of potential income; we can only cash as a foundation if it continues now. More importantly, you have received 400 ambassadors in the Netherlands at once, who want this to continue and who have a piece of America's Cup boat that will sail in 2021."

The investment pledges are only drawn down when the DutchSail Challenge has secured its funding budget - an objective Tienpont said in a separate interview, and subsequently confirmed by the team, that they had reached the 75% mark on that funding Target. The team had also completed its long term planning and strategy phase.

Many have been quick to put an America's Cup budget at north of $100million, with INEOS Team UK running a budget of estimated at around €120million.

Tienpont told Zeilen NL: “The perception of the average Dutchman was you need hundreds of millions of cash to participate. But the proposition can be split up as well when you apply co-ownership within the campaign like Value in Kind partnerships, commercialise the IP that comes out of the campaign, private donation and cash brand sponsorship. When you apply this, like DutchSail did, the cash brand title and sub sponsorships are around 1.5 times a Volvo Ocean Race campaign.."

At this stage it is believed that DutchSail's objective to to run a single AC75 campaign along with a 12metre/38ft development boat. The team is expected to buy one of the standard design packages offered by the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand.

Tienpont confirmed in the podcast interview with NPORadio1 that the team was following the strategy of forming partnerships with companies and research institutions who had specific expertise and facilities and other resources that saved the team having to raise cash from sponsors to purchase these services.

In both interviews Tienpont made it clear that it was essential for the team to sign a title sponsor.

He told Zeilen.NL: “We have a number of hot irons in the fire and that is super exciting. Now we have three parties that are very tangible. It must now be completed in the coming weeks."

In the interview with NPORadio1, the timeline for a title sponsor signing was put at two weeks.

Tienpont is working closely with DutchSail 's CEO Eelco Blok, an active racing sailor, who was for many years the CEO of KPN (the equivalent of British Telecom in NL). KPN's value on the Euronext Stock exchange is currently €11,7 billion. As well as extensive business contacts and expertise, Blok has a good sailing background. He was part of the Melges 24 crew that placed 7th on the 2017 Melges 24 World Championships. They were the second placed Corinthian crew in the 2017 Worlds.

Of the two other Late Challengers, Stars and Stripes Team USA and Malta Altus Challenge, neither have withdrawn, contrary to media reports in early April.

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