He's the very public face of a dual campaign but Grant Dalton tells sports editor Kelly Exelby there's no way he'll be on board when Team New Zealand debuts its Open 70 yacht Camper in the Volvo around-the-world Ocean Race.
The heart is yearning but the closest Grant Dalton will get to any prolonged time on board Camper, the joint Spanish-New Zealand entry in the next Volvo Ocean Race, will be a jaunt to the sub-tropics.
As part of the its build-up to the Volvo, once known as the Whitbread round-the-world race, 53-year-old Dalton will crew in June's Auckland-to-Fiji race.
Dalton competed in the Whitbread six times and was twice on the winning yacht. In 1981-82 on Flyer and in 1993-94 as skipper of New Zealand Endeavour. However, he won't be in Camper's 11-strong crew of 10 sailors and a cameraman when the Volvo begins in Europe in late October, with the Team New Zealand managing director this week giving a resounding "no" to any suggestion he'll jump on board on any of the nine legs during the 38,000-mile journey.
"There is a side of me that would love to be there, and it's something [Australian skipper] Chris [Nicholson] and I discussed real early on, but it'd be totally unreasonable to suddenly impose myself on the boat when there are guys that, frankly, can probably do a better job anyway.
"Sure it's sentimental for me for Emirates Team New Zealand to be involved in something like this, and although I've been involved in the America's Cup, my heart remains in around the world, but I couldn't possibly run an organisation by saying 'hi guys, I'm coming with you', nor would it be right to push one of the crew aside so I could crew in one of the legs.
"It would be so wrong."
Tauranga is the first stopover for Camper, named after the Spanish footwear company with which Team NZ is mounting the campaign.
The 70ft (23.3m) Volvo Open 70-class yacht has been trialing on the Waitemata Harbour and leaves at midday next Monday bound for Tauranga, with arrival expected at 6am off Mauao. It will also call at Gisborne, Wellington, Lyttelton and Dunedin.
Dalton said yesterday they were keen to preserve the tradition of taking the around-the-world yacht to as many ports as possible to engage the public.
Camper will berth at Salisbury Wharf at Mt Maunganui for four hours next Tuesday from 8am, with the public allowed on board from 9am to 11am. It will then moor at Sulphur Pt until 5pm.
After leaving Lyttelton, Camper will go on a 2000-nautical-mile voyage to the Chatham Islands and back to Auckland as part of the qualifying process for Volvo.
Dalton said Monday's sail down the Coromandel peninsula would be the first time for Nicholson and his crew to push the boat.
"They won't be taking it easy. By the time they get to your place they'll have had a good run down around the top of the Coromandel, and these sorts of trips, although they're partly for PR and to re-engage people so they feel like they used to about the round-the-world race, are great for the crew and boat to stretch their legs."
Although there was some initial concern when Team NZ announced their intentions of entering the race that it would divert their attention from the 2013 America's Cup, Dalton said there was no overlap.
"We're running simultaneous but contrasting campaigns but the elements of each are the same - ensuring we've got enough money, a good design, the right people and the right processes in place.
"I hope we're seen as the arrowhead of the New Zealand industry, with a brand that's now so robust and strong, and our results in whatever race we tackle will speak volumes about our ability to crossover.
"I'm confident we can diversify, like a brand like McLaren does with high-end road cars as well as Formula One, but our primary heart is still America's Cup, with Volvo now our second heart beating."
7am: Camper arrives on dock at Salisbury Wharf
9am-11am: Public viewing, gold coin donation
11am-noon: Yacht Club guests on board and meet the crew
Noon-12.30pm: Camper moves to mooring in front of Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club.
Noon-2.30pm: Lunch at TYPBC with skipper Chris Nicholson, Team NZ managing director Grant Dalton.
2.30pm-4.30pm: Sailing with guests and sponsors
5pm: Camper and crew departs for Gisborne