Much of the financial support provided to Team New Zealand from Matteo de Nora comes in the form of on-demand loans, something Grant Dalton has acknowledged is something of a "wild card".
Since 2000 de Nora, a low-profile Swiss-Italian businessman, has been providing support for Team New Zealand. He has never been a member of the syndicate's board.
While Team NZ have never detailed the nature of the support, they have acknowledged that, without it, it was unlikely the team would have been able to win the America's Cup.
But details of the financial arrangements are revealed in emails Team NZ chief executive Dalton sent to Mark Dunphy, the wealthy businessman who has launched a campaign to keep the next defence of the America's Cup in Auckland.
On July 15, before Dunphy's interest in the cup became public, Dalton gave an insight into his relationship with de Nora.
"A very close friend to all of us, he is constantly updated by myself (usually daily) on 'what we are up to' and has over the years made a significant financial and 'advisory' impact on the team," Dalton wrote.
"In short if it was not for Matteo, TNZ would have disappeared a long time ago."
Dalton said Dunphy had probably already been informed that "we carry a significant loan on the books [from Matteo] which is 'on demand' - the relationship is such that to date that 'on demand' has not come," Dalton wrote.
Describing the fluid situation around how much Team New Zealand needed to run the cup, he added that "Matteo's loan also remains somewhat of a wild card".
The relationship between de Nora and the team had concerned at least one former director, Jim Farmer, QC, who was on Team New Zealand's board for almost a decade until 2013.
Farmer told the Herald that over time he became concerned about the influence de Nora had over the team and in particular Dalton. The pair got on "like a house on fire" and spoke at length, usually daily.
Farmer said that not long before he left the board he called a meeting at which he insisted de Nora become a director. The businessman flatly refused.
"I know quite a lot about company law but I've never heard of a team principal, someone who's a principal of a company, who's not actually a director of a company."
While on the board Farmer became aware that the support de Nora had provided Team New Zealand was not gifts, but loans.
"I said 'Grant, we could never repay those loans if he called on them'. He said 'oh, [de Nora] will never call on them'. I said 'that's not the point. What if [de Nora] gets run over by a bus and the executor of his estate mightn't be so generous?'"
Team New Zealand declined to discuss the details of their financial arrangements with de Nora.
"We are a private company and the details of his immense support over the years are confidential," Team New Zealand director Greg Horton said in an emailed statement.
"Without Matteo and Grant, however, I can say that we would not have won two America's Cups."