Wow, how impressive was that!? Massive congratulations to Emirates Team New Zealand.
From the incredibly technological developments that we managed to keep under wraps, to the immense physical challenge of the cyclors pumping out the hydraulic power, to the knife-edge boat handling, the cat and mouse tactics, and the excellent TV coverage, it really was exciting sport!
No comeback for Jimmy ‘Pitbull’ Spithill this time! However, on a positive note, he does seem to be more gracious in defeat than in victory. I did almost feel sorry for him in the post match interview choking back the tears… we can only imagine how much hard work and sacrifice goes into a campaign like that.
Sir Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison have changed the face of the America’s Cup for sure, and it will be fascinating to see what format the next event takes under the Team NZ ownership.
Sir Russell has championed the Endeavour Programme, encouraging more kids into sailing and was in Nelson a little over a year ago supporting the developing O’Pen Bic class – a simple, fast, fun class of boat which holds regattas where the emphasis is very much on having fun, with fancy dress races, adventure races, freestyle comps and more.
Last time in 2013, we increased our capacity and saw our largest group of beginner sailors come through our Junior Watersports programme. These young sailors are not filtering through to the College Team Racing programmes and getting involved in learning how to be assistant instructors.
Hopefully this time, after going one better, we’ll see an even bigger increase in interest!
One of the common perceptions that is possibly perpetuated by the America’s Cup is that sailing is elitist. Whilst it is true that getting the right equipment and coaching to get you to the top is undoubtedly expensive (as it is in any sport), sailing is so much more than just a sport. Peter Burling’s Optimist cost $200… his parents probably sold it on for a similar amount… and I imagine they wish they’d kept hold of it now… it might have just gone up in value!
In other news, NYC sailor Dave Shaw is currently in Europe ahead of the foiling A Class Catamaran World Championships in August in Poland. Recently he narrowly missed out on a podium at an event at Sopot (the venue for the worlds) coming 5th, but level on points with 3rd. Hopefully he can bring more foiling silverware back to NZ!