Mr America’s Cup cheers for New Zealand
Published on June 22nd, 2017
‘Mr America’s Cup’ wants Team New Zealand to win back the Auld Mug.
Dennis Conner, who for so long was public enemy number one in New Zealand, is adamant the regatta needs to return down under for the sake of its own future.
“I like what I’m hearing about the possibility of going back to a mono hull and not making it the same circus that we have [in Bermuda],” Conner said in an interview with Rachel Smalley on Newstalk ZB’s Early Edition.
Before the regatta in Bermuda, all of the competing syndicates, except Team New Zealand, agreed to a blueprint for the next two editions of the Cup. It would see the event take place every two years with a belief that entrant numbers will double. But Conner is decidedly against that.
“I think if Oracle wins, we could have another event every year and what would separate the America’s Cup from just being another regatta?” he asked. “It used to be something special and they’ve turned this into a completely different event.”
Conner won the Cup in 1974, 1980, 1987 and 1988 and is widely regarded in sailing circles as the man who essentially took it from an amateur event to professional status. He believes Oracle Team USA’s move to take it to Bermuda has had a detrimental effect.
“Right now they [people] don’t like it,” Conner stated. “There’s not many big boats in Bermuda, the hotels are empty, the TV ratings are bad and the whole thing, I think, will be an economic disaster for Bermuda.”
Conner wants the regatta back in New Zealand.
“People want to go back to what they saw in Auckland with a downtown event, the centre of the America’s Cup, everybody having a great time, lots of people, lots of boats, lots of spectators and I see nothing but good to come out of it.”
Conner also believes this could be the last time Sir Russell Coutts will be involved in the America’s Cup. Coutts, who led Team NZ to its famous victory over Conner’s Young America in 1995 in San Diego, before defending the Cup on the Hauraki Gulf in 2000, is head of the America’s Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he hangs up his sailing shoes and retires,” Conner said.
Team NZ are 3-0 ahead of the resumption of racing on June 24.
“I don’t see Oracle coming back with the same miracle they did last time,” Conner said. “I’m already looking for my spot there in the Viaduct.”
Source: New Zealand Herald
Emirates Team New Zealand (3) vs ORACLE TEAM USA (0)
* Scoreboard: While the Challenger has won all four races, their match score is 3-0. The Defender, which won the Qualifiers held on May 26-June 3, began the series with a one point advantage. As the rules detail, the Challenger would carry a one point disadvantage (ie, minus 1), meaning they will need to win eight races to take the trophy whereas the Defender need only win seven races.
Schedule: The dates of the Match extend from June 17 to 28, though will end earlier when a team scores 7 points. The next race day is June 24 and will continue daily thereafter until there is a winner.