America’s Cup loss, likely NZ’s last dabbling with sailing billionaires

The Kiwis’ aching loss in the America’s Cup saga in San Francisco last month does not augur well for the nation’s future association with the oldest exotic yacht-racing event of modern times.

The New Zealand newspaper headlines were calmly matter of fact. After leading the exhaustively long series by 8 wins to 1, it begged credulity that the Kiwis would lose 8-9.

It’s likely Team New Zealand will not be around tomorrow, let alone in four years’ time, when the next edition of billionaire Larry Ellison’s cup is dished up.

New Zealand’s cup dream is over altogether, unless some normality and reality can be brought into the equation.

Competition will be the poorer without the Kiwis, who have been the dominant force since the challenger series was initiated 30 years ago in Perth.

Without Team New Zealand competitiveness and commonsense this year, the cup would have been an absolute disaster.

They brought some to an event lacking both.

As Fairfax news service pointed out:

“In the end, they were overwhelmed by the excesses that now dominate the oldest competition in sport, the showmanship and spec tinkerings that have robbed the event of some of its dignity.

“Ellison’s millions were like a tidal wave the Kiwis couldn’t escape. He found the best sailors and they got the best out of a tweaked boat.

“As Team New Zealand boss, Grant Dalton, warned, the fastest boat will always grind you down…. But not even Dalton could have believed all of the fighting talk from 1-8 down could blow his team across the line. That it did, mixing good fortune — three New Zealand leads were denied by the elements — with superb sailing.

“As a deflated Kiwi skipper Dean Barker said, credit where credit’s due.”


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