Tom Schnackenburg, America's Cup techinical ace, is dumped from Emirates Team New Zealand - Martin Tasker reports from Auckland
The word bombshell can be a bit overused in sport but that’s certainly what Team New Zealand dropped this week with the dumping of America’s Cup legend Tom Schnackenberg.
A terse press release said the evolution of the design team, now headed by Briton Andy Claughton, had reduced Schnacks’ role to that of an advisor and given the budget restrictions the best solution was for him to leave.
There were the usual fulsome tributes from Team NZ managing director Grant Dalton but they couldn’t disguise the fact that the career of a key player in three America’s Cup victories was effectively over.
Cup protocol prevents Schnackenberg from taking his talents to another syndicate and he now joins fellow Kiwi cup legend Russell Coutts in exile from Valencia in 2007. Team NZ’s agreement with Schnackenberg prevents either party from discussing his departure, but Australia 2 skipper John Bertrand – for whom Schnackenberg ran the Cup winning sail programme in 1983 – expressed amazement that the Kiwis felt they challenger could do without Schnacks’ unique talents:”He’s probably the most amazing solver of problems I’ve ever come across. He’s a whiz kid.”