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America's Cup: DutchSail vows to push on with Challenge

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz and DutchSail M 6 May 14:36 BST 7 May 2019
DutchSail Skipper and CEO Simeon Tienpont (left ) with Managing Director Eelco Blok, former KPN Chief Executive Officer and top-level regatta sailor. © Sander van der Borch

The Dutch America's Cup challenge, DutchSail, have issued a media statement saying they are continuing in the 36th America's Cup, but realise that: "We are well aware that the time factor is starting to get really urgent, but giving up is not an option. "

The team's financial and fundraising arm the DutchSail Foundation says it will "broaden its approach that was set up at the outset for the first Dutch participation in the prestigious America’s Cup, into a national platform based on continuity."

Managing Director Eelco Blok, formerly managing director with Holland's largest telco says: “We now have various firm commitments, but that does not yet close the loop. Fortunately, we are able to extend the deadlines a bit, to capitalize on key opportunities." Blok is also an active racing sailor, in the Melges 24 class.

In the statement, the team which has really only been functional since mid-November, is expanding its strategy to get financial and marine industry backing for what is now being termed "wet lab", and expanding on the same concept developed by skipper Simeon Tienpont for the last Volvo Ocean race with Team AkzoNobel, and as outlined previously in Sail-World click here

The team is backed by two of Holland's senior yacht clubs, both of which were formed before the first contest for what has become the America's Cup in 1851. One of clubs, Royal Netherlands Yacht Club was invited to sail in the 1851 series, but declined.

The written media statement, aimed at the general media as well as sailing media continues:

DutchSail’s primary focus - funding the Dutch entry in the 36th America’s Cup - has been a challenge in itself. Developments at home and abroad continue to gain momentum, where Simeon Tienpont and the team still hold on the prospect of entering the America’s Cup.

Behind the scenes, everything is really progressing; although not always visible, it is really incredibly exciting. We are well aware that the time factor is starting to get really urgent, but giving up is not an option. Moreover, we feel more than supported by the defender, Team New Zealand; we keep them well informed about our struggle against time, and they praise what we are setting up here in the Netherlands. It is clear that participation in the America’s Cup is a national affair and they think it is great that we are committed to that.”

Based in Scheveningen, the core team’s enthusiasm is fuelled by the overwhelming support and positive feedback from the many presentations given to yacht clubs, government agencies and the business community over the past few months and the issue of the DutchSail certificates has been successful. We have received a handful of firm corporate commitments and discussions with a main sponsor are promising.

Continuity

The Dutch industry, in particular the naval and maritime sectors, continue to value the opportunity to apply Dutch innovations to the hi-tech monohull foiling AC75; they see it as a so called ‘wet’ laboratory. Knowledge centers like Marin, TNO, NLR, Erasmus Medical Center and Deltares are already looking further and are committed to DutchSail as an eco-system for innovation, technology and sustainability for the Netherlands and in particular the North Sea. More than ever, the technological spin-off of the AC75 boat responds to sustainability issues, such as zero emission shipping and offshore wind energy.

According to DutchSail Foundation board member Hans Huis in 't Veld, many contacts in recent months have generated a lot of synergy between the energy, maritime and aviation sectors: ‘‘Hi-tech competitive racing circuit, whether for the America's Cup, for the Ocean Race or the Vendée Globe, to name a few. Only focused, structured partnership will deliver winning results. Individual initiatives will never be able to build up a sustainable momentum; we need DutchSail as an eco-system."

The America’s Cup

The America’s Cup is seen as the first international sporting event and has its origins in 1851, then organized by Queen Victoria of England to honor the world exhibition, where participating countries were able to showcase their innovations. The cup bears the name of the first winning yacht, The America. In March 2021 contestants will compete in the 36th edition in Auckland, New Zealand.

The defining characteristic of the America’s Cup format is that the defender may determine the type of racing ship in which the next America's Cup will end up. Team New Zealand has opted for a bold design for the 36th edition: a 75 foot (23 meter) monohull with a single canting foil. The AC75 can develop speeds of over 93km per hour, unprecedentedly fast for a sailboat of that size.

Tienpont has conducted intensive research in recent months into the feasibility of the Dutch entry: “Now is the chance for the Netherlands to get a Dutch challenger on the water for the first time in history. The design of the AC75 and the technical specifications are right for the Dutch maritime and aviation industry. The America’s Cup has worked 168 years as a delivery room for technology development. The Dutch maritime sector is a recognized world leader; it is now a question of using that leadership to achieve success in participating in the 36th America’s Cup. Add to that the fact that our competitive sailors are among the best in the world."

DutchSail

The DutchSail Foundation has set itself the goal of establishing a continuity-based connection between government, centers of excellence and the business community in the field of marine and maritime innovation and sailing. Through mutual cooperation, economic and sporting opportunities are created around increasingly relevant social themes; climate and energy, food, water, health, circular economy and safety.

The vision of DutchSail points to youth as a starting point. Where water sports clubs and, by extension, the Water Sports Association, focus on the link from youth to Olympic sailing; DutchSail takes the position to develop the link from youth to professional (offshore) sailing. DutchSail Foundation board member Michiel van Dis: “With this initiative, DutchSail explicitly fills a big gap in the talent development of our sport. DutchSail will make it possible for Dutch youth to build a career in the magical world of international hi-tech competitive sailing. The possibilities are unprecedented."

DutchSail will start as a challenger in the America's Cup in 2021. The America's Cup is a global driver in innovation and technology. It gives the Netherlands a wonderful opportunity to profile itself with knowledge and innovation focused on sustainability, life science and performance in combination with the most iconic top sporting event in the world. A competition spectacle for a crowd of millions that brings together the top sailors, designers and builders from countries that rely on their innovative and advanced technology industry.

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