In the week since Grant Dalton asked for another Government hand-out, he has not found much public support. His warning that without further assistance, Team New Zealand will be "gone by the end of the month" has met with general indifference. Much as we love the America's Cup when the sailing starts, we can live without it.
Sensing this, Dalton further warned, "If we go, there ain't no coming back". The cost of starting again from scratch is now so high, he said, that it would never again be possible in New Zealand.
Never is a long time but he is probably right. It is not only the cost that could deter a future bid - the cup could never again capture the national imagination as it did when investment banker Michael Fay started almost from scratch in 1985.
Since then, Team New Zealand has won it, defended it, lost it, and won the chance to challenge again, and again, losing last year after coming within one race of a clean sweep.
It has been an extraordinary roller-coaster of national excitement and anguish. It continues to take so many new turns that it is something of a shock to realise New Zealand has been engaged with the America's Cup for nearly 30 years.
Is it to end now in a whimper, not a roar? The syndicate leader claims to have lined up enough sponsors for another challenge, but says they will not make firm commitments until the venue is known, possibly by February. In the meantime, he needs more public money to keep designers on board and the organisation afloat.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce reasonably demanded evidence of that sponsorship before providing perhaps $2.5 million on top of the $5 million given after last year's loss to keep Team NZ in business.
Its name sponsor for the past 10 years, Emirates, came forward, declaring it would renew its support "as soon as the team is in a position to finalise arrangements regarding the next campaign".
Everything, it seems, depends upon the choice of venue.
Mr Joyce remains reluctant to put more public money into another challenge unless private sponsors stump up some cash at this stage too. If the stalemate is not broken by the end of the month, the syndicate could be wound up and the public would not shed a tear.
It was, though, ever thus. The America's Cup has always earned our abiding disgust between challenges, only to captivate us again when the racing begins. Between times, it is a series of snarling verbal and legal disputes over the deed, design rules, race protocols and other details.
The holder has the right to tilt the playing field in its favour in every possible way.
This time, Oracle Team USA has surpassed all previous jack-ups with rules that will restrict challengers (but not itself) to one boat, and let the defender sail in the challengers' elimination rounds to ensure its boats are well honed for the final series.
Dalton protested loudly when the terms were announced, but sensing the damage to public interest he now pronounces them "not that bad".
They are diabolical. But it is the America's Cup. If the team makes it to the next challenge, we will be captivated again. With a grimace and grumble, the taxpayer will provide a bit more.