Roar of naysayers will be deafening
Published on April 26th, 2022
When Team New Zealand rejected a funding offer from its government to defend the America’s Cup in Auckland, it was to seek a better offer to fund what they contended was needed for a successful campaign. That was found in Spain with the 37th America’s Cup to be held in Barcelona.
They saw two choices – lose at home or win offshore – and opted for the later, but the example they often used was the team’s embarrassing defense defeat in 2003. That was Team New Zealand nearly sank and was dismasted, losing to the Swiss team Alinghi 5-0 in the 31st America’s Cup.
However, in a report by New Zealand media group STUFF, that defeat didn’t make their list for the seven most humiliating results in the nation’s sporting history. No, alongside failures in rugby, netball, and cricket was Team New Zealand’s defeat in 2013:
Team New Zealand’s Cup choke
Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
In a remarkable collapse that skipper Dean Barker admitted was “hard to fathom”, Team New Zealand threw away a seemingly unassailable 8-1 lead over Oracle Team USA to lose 9-8 as the US syndicate successfully defended the Auld Mug in San Francisco.
It was one of the biggest comebacks in the history of sport, and a moment most Kiwis would prefer to forget, with Barker and Co losing eight races in a row in the best-of-17 match to the Jimmy Spithill-helmed outfit when one victory would have been enough to bring the Cup home.
The defeat was all the more painful since Team New Zealand thought they had the title in the bag on day 10 of the regatta, leading Oracle by more than a kilometer coming down the fourth and penultimate leg.
But in a cruel twist of fate, the limited breeze over San Francisco Bay meant that the 40-minute time limit expired with the finish line almost in sight.
Oracle made the most of that lifeline, and with the expert guidance of British sailing great Sir Ben Ainslie, pulled off the unthinkable.
The sight of a smirking Spithill provided ample motivation for Team New Zealand to win back the famous trophy four years later in Bermuda by a margin of 7-1.
If the Kiwi defense fails in 2024, giving up local waters as did the US team, the roar of naysayers will be deafening.
Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on by March 30, 2022.
Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
• INEOS Britannia (GBR)
• Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
• Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
• NYYC American Magic (USA)