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Schnackenberg leaves Team NZ

Published: 5:02PM Thursday December 02, 2004 Source: ONE Sport

Former head of design Tom Schnackenberg is leaving Team New Zealand.

The veteran of three successful America's Cup campaigns and head of the Team New Zealand syndicate that lost the America's Cup in 2003 has been squeezed out of the new design team.

The design team has been working for almost a year but the whole Team New Zealand organisation of nearly 80 members has only just joined up together in Auckland this week and with the expansion of the design team Schnackenberg's role in the design process has been diminished.

Team New Zealand Managing Director Grant Dalton says the board decided his role had been replaced to the exent it was best for him to leave.

Schnackenberg was one of the first people to reaffirm his commitment to Team New Zealand in April 2003 before a challenge had even been confirmed.

Team New Zealand will lose a wealth of experience with Schnackenberg involved in both Team New Zealand victories and was also part of taking the America's Cup away from America for the first time in 1983 with Australia II.

He was a key component of Team New Zealand's victories in 1995 and 2000, and stayed with the team after the defections of Russel Coutts and Brad Butterworth before the 2003 defence.

Schnackenberg was a key part of the design team that created the hula for the 2003 Team New Zealand boats.

The hula was an extra appendage added to the underside of the bow intended to extend the length of the boat in the water and therefore improve speed. But the hula caused delays and problems in testing and eventually the problems extended to the America's Cup racing, with Team New Zealand suffering a number of major failings as they failed to defend the Cup against Alinghi.