Yachting: Deal nearly done for Team NZ

Team New Zealand is close to securing another major sponsorship deal which would all but complete their funding for Valencia 2007.

Rumours abound the new backer is a giant Spanish brewery.

Team boss Grant Dalton is giving little away, apart from saying the deal is nearly done.

However, Dalton admits the contract negotiations are the most difficult he has ever been involved in.

It is understood the brewery is after a tax break from the Spanish government, should they fork out some sponsorship for Team New Zealand.

Dalton says they need to secure the latest sponsorship backing, or else he might have to go with his beggars bowl to major sponsor Emirates.

Meanwhile, golden boy Ben Ainslie is leaving Team New Zealand, for the time being anyway.

The double Olympic gold medalist is not wanted in the team's afterguard for the upcoming northern summer regattas.

Englishman Ainslie says he can understand the decision, but will not stick around, needing to be involved in more match racing.

He says he is doing five or six international match racing events this year, then he might spend some time back with Team New Zealand in Valencia.

Ainslie says he needs more time on the helm of a boat, rather than taking just a back-up role within Team New Zealand.

The team has selected a three-man afterguard for the upcoming Valencia regattas - Dean Barker and Americans Kevin Hall and Terry Hutchinson.

- NEWSTALK ZB

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