Pride before an Americas Cup fall and all that

So we’ve failed to get the Americas Cup. Naturally. Pride goeth before a fall, and victory celebrations on an early 8-nil lead was it.

The sloop Mayflower, defender during the sixth Americas Cup regatta in 1886. Painting: Antonio Jacobsen, public domain, via Wikimedia.

The sloop Mayflower, defender during the sixth Americas Cup regatta in 1886. Painting: Antonio Jacobsen, public domain, via Wikimedia.

Besides, it’s a Kiwi thing either way. New Zealand’s entry, Aotearoa, was a New Zealand project. The defending Oracle Team USA was led by a Kiwi and the sails were built in Warkworth, north of Auckland.

It’s a salutary demonstration of Kiwi technical chops that we build hydrofoil catamarans that fly over the water at 40 knots.  Add the ‘Wellywood’ film industry and it’s clear the place isn’t just a land of scenery and sheep.

So why was it important to us to win this bit of tin? I can’t help thinking the Americas Cup is one symbol of New Zealand’s discovery of itself.

The first serious challenge New Zealand mounted in 1986-87 came just as we re-invented ourselves as an independent nation on the world stage. The challenge was unsuccessful, but you wouldn’t have known it by the heroic reception the crew got afterwards.

It was a case of event, mood and moment coming together. And that, I guess, is one reason why it’s remained a symbol for us today.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013

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4 comments on “Pride before an Americas Cup fall and all that

  1. Gabrielle Rothwell says:

    Millions of dollars of the tax-payers’ money has been spent on this. Has it been worth it?

  2. Pete Denton says:

    I watched the last few races and it does seem strange to refer to the American and NZ teams as the American team ended with only 1 home born sailor. ONE!

    It was good drama though. Maybe next time :)

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