Grant Dalton on Barcelona AC37 venue choice
Dalton spoke to sailing media minutes after the announcement was made
Grant Dalton generally doesn’t give much away with his facial expressions. Nevertheless I thought I could detect just a hint of satisfaction as he fielded questions in a Zoom call with the sailing media minutes after announcing Barcelona as the venue of the next edition of the America’s Cup.
“Fire away. The worst kept secret in the world, right?” he greeted us.
Certainly the Spanish media had been let in on the venue announcement by eager local dignitaries days earlier - well before us sailing journos got a sniff of it.
Barcelona, it turns out was the mysterious ‘bolter’ Dalton had intriguingly referred to last year when the America’s Cup holders extended the deadline for the venue selection process.
Unsurprisingly, Dalton waxed lyrical about the suitability of the Catalonian city to host the next Cup.
He cited the warmth and enthusiasm of the reception he and his team had received when they arrived there, the appeal of making Barcelona the first Olympic venue to also host the AC, the success of that Olympic regatta back in 1992, as well as the appeal of being able to stage the racing close to the Barcelona shoreline.
He even said that the team had been influenced by Barcelona’s romantic reputation - stemming from what he said had been an iconic and memorable 1992 Olympic Games.
“I remember Freddie Mercury and that flaming arrow being fired and lighting the Olympic cauldron,” he said.
But far from Barcelona being a shoo-in, according to Dalton the other bids - from Cork, Jeddah, and Malaga - had all been equally as strong.
Asked if the unsuccessful venues would be awarded a consolation prize of hosting an America’s Cup World Series event, Dalton said they would - however no plans had been formulated yet.
What did come as a surprise was that he seemed particularly keen on running an ACWS event in Jeddah.