Five months ago, MBIE appointed two former senior officials from the Serious Fraud Office to investigate several claims of financial impropriety that had been made against the America’s Cup champions and their event management arm, America’s Cup Event Ltd.

Richard Gladwell wrote another ridiculously biased piece for Sail-World regarding the sleazy kerfuffle between Emirates Team New Zealand, ACE, M&C, MBIE, the NZ Herald, and the NZ courts. And, since it’s a Saturday and I’m bored, I feel compelled to rip it apart, because it richly deserves it.

The bulk of his sophomoric article is a laughable attempt at swaying the decision currently in arbitration as to whether the Class Design fees of $3M should be paid to ETNZ with public money through MBIE. He makes the pitch thusly…

For an organisation that has Innovation in its name, one would have thought that MBIE would have been more than pleased to pick up the cost of development and testing of the AC75 boat concept and class rule.

Really? Though it is the typical KiWhinger jingoism we’ve come to expect from Gladwell, and what one has to assume is borne of GD whispering hotly in his ear, it is a very weak argument for many reasons.

But there is a lot of crap surrounding this whole thing that needs dealing with first. So let’s get started…

Now in my own following of the story to date, there is not a lot of solid public information precisely because ETNZ lawyered up, stopped cooperating with the investigation, and put a hush on everything through the courts. This is important because, in light of that, Clownwell is making a lot of arguments in his article where either:

  1. He is completely making stuff up without a shred of evidence.
  2. He is being fed stuff for PR reasons by those in the hot seat to influence this arbitration decision.

My wild hunch, due to his historically one-eyed coverage of the AC, is the latter.

So what I’m going to do here is take the same set of facts that are publicly known and show just how ridiculously inept his arguments in that article are – and how clear it is that this story is far from over.

Let’s go back to the confidential letter to MBIE – now understood to be the whistleblow from M&C that started all this. Here was its crux as reported by the NZ Herald:



Well, I’ve been on SA now for 12 years. Remember, it’s the most “rough and tumble” sailing forum around…making forums like SN and CF look like knitting circles.

Its history is the typical “in-your-face, speak truth to power, call-out-the-BS, burn-down-the-hypocrisy, never-back-down, smacktalk-everyone” approach that sailors have long been known for. Its slogan is the seemingly anti-establishment “Where The Status Quo Blows”. On its surface, it appears to be the ultimate “Fight Club For Sailors”. So it fits my posting “personality” pretty well.

Now, the longtime face of this club has been one “Mr. Clean”, seen here at the entrance:


Personally, I’ve never had much respect for the dude – “hobbylistically” speaking that is. I obviously don’t know him personally (and don’t care to) – so can’t speak to that. He may be a great guy. But his work and approach on Sailing Anarchy was always excruciatingly crude, pedestrian, and needlessly loud. He single-handedly managed to lower the bar of even “Gonzo Journalism” itself. And that’s saying something,

But more to the point, he was rarely right in his analysis or predictions of what was going on in sailing. He therefore never really drew much of an audience. He was just kind of a hanger-on. (And BTW – I said this directly to him when he was trolling me in my SailGP thread.)

On the other hand…