Emirates Team New Zealand has significantly bolstered the teams ranks by signing one of the country’s most successful America’s Cup campaigners, Murray Jones, to help guide the team in the most important six months of the 35th America’s Cup campaign.
Jones, a five time winner of the America’s Cup, who won the Auld Mug with Team New Zealand in 1995 and 2000 was identified by Emirates Team New Zealand as one of the key figures behind Oracle Team USA’s comeback victory in 2013 because of his critical understanding of what makes both a boat and team work to its optimum.
An America’s Cup Hall of Famer, Jones is excited to be back with the team he first won the America’s Cup with early in his sailing career.
“It’s great to be back, it has been a long time since I was part of this team. I have a lot of friends in the team and a lot of people that I have respected over the years and obviously a really great sailing and design team.”
How has Jones eventually come a full circle to rejoin the team?
“Up until now, I had stepped out of the cup this time around. But as the teams progressed in their campaigns I obviously started to get a bit more interested in what is going on and missing it a little bit and coincidentally Glenn Ashby called up and asked me if I was interested in helping out so he talked me into it.”
Sailing team director Glenn Ashby knew having someone of Jones’ calibre and experience would be a huge asset going into the vitally important final six to seven months of the campaign. “Already some big decisions have been made, certainly there are a few more ahead but we are coming to the stage of the campaign where refinement and focus on the final push for the cup in 2017 are most important and coming in at this stage Murray can provide a fresh perspective on progress and knows better than most of where priorities should lie from here.”
From Jones’ experience it is decisions in the next two months that will have a big bearing on winning the cup. “The cup is always won by the fastest boat and probably will be again this time. So just putting decisions in place and making sure you make the right ones from now as well as not making backward steps is key towards giving yourself a chance at the end.”
His first impressions of the team, “The entire team have clearly been quietly working away tirelessly on some really exciting design work that is showing a lot of potential. I have a lot of respect for what Pete Burling and Blair Tuke have achieved at an Olympic level, pair that with Glenn [Ashby], Ray [Davies] and Richard [Meacham] and they are the nucleus of a very strong sailing team so it is exciting times ahead even though its only 6 or 7 months and it will be all over, but there will be a lot happening in that period.”