Bridging the Trans-Tasman Rivalry
Published on January 3rd, 2019
Neighboring countries Australia and New Zealand are positively bound in many ways, but when it comes to sport, the Trans-Tasman rivalry is intense. Thus is the landscape in which Australian Glenn Ashby lives amid the America’s Cup winning New Zealand Team.
The 36th Match in 2021 will be his third with the Kiwis, with his contributions winning the Cup in 2017 earning him special recognition as 2019 gets underway as Duncan Johnstone reports for stuff.co.nz:
Australian Glenn Ashby’s “honorary Kiwi” status has been officially upgraded. The Team New Zealand star who skippered the 2017 campaign that saw the return of the America’s Cup has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s honours.
“My Australian passport still seems to work coming into the country I guess that’s a sign of not bad things,” the chirpy Ashby said.
He has been regularly commuting across the Tasman since the Cup victory and will now bring his family to Auckland to bed them in for the next campaign to be held on “home” waters in 2021.
It follows a similar formula he managed in the lead up to the heartbreaking loss in San Francisco in 2013 and the triumphant regatta in Bermuda four years later where Emirates Team New Zealand won back the Auld Mug from Oracle Team USA.
The genial Ashby has quickly become arguably New Zealand’s favourite Aussie.
“I’ve heard that a few times, I’m very happy to claim that one. There’s always plenty of friendly banter and fun and games,” the 41-year-old said. “The reality is our two girls have spent a lot more time in New Zealand than Australia and they are looking forward to getting back. We all are, we have some great friends there.”
Ashby said his gong came out of the blue and he was surprised when the paperwork arrived for what described as “a wonderful honour”.
“I feel a bit funny sometimes about receiving awards on behalf of the whole group because winning the America’s Cup is a big team effort. We pulled something off that was out of the bag and pretty much unexpected. But to be acknowledged for your support of sailing and what you’ve done sailing for the country, it’s a wonderful honour.”
Ashby’s deeds go beyond the America’s Cup. This year the double Olympic medalist won his 10th A-class catamaran world championship and his 17th world title in all.
He is an acknowledged multi-hull master and his genius was crucial to Emirates Team New Zealand’s last two campaigns that were raced in big foiling cats. Now he has been transferring that knowledge to the development of the 75-foot foiling monohulls that will be sailed at Auckland 2021.