Saturday, October 19, 2013


The win-win watershed

Why all the fuss about losing a silver cup when we actually won a pot of gold? Since the America's Cup marathon (in September 2013), our sailing sports people have continued winning gold medals, letting every nation know where the centre of the boating world is.
   The San Francisco regatta was a competition between two New Zealand boats: the official Aotearoa, and the unofficial Oracle (it even had Kiwi black sails) each with a team of New Zealanders led by a Kiwi celebrity (Dalton and Coutts, but also an Australian skipper venting spittle).
   It was as if  Canterbury was playing Auckland. Of course, rugby teams go out in all weathers, but at Alcatraz the atmospheric conditions caused races to be aborted, cancelled, and postponed, especially whenever Team NZ  seemed to be succeeding, we noticed.
    Truly, did we only want to see those magnificent men in their flying machines (sponsored by promoters of aeroplanes and automobiles) strut their stuff nine times, and then it would be all over? The advertisers certainly wanted maximum exposure, and they got their brands displayed in twenty-one races over nineteen days.
   And we lapped up the thrills and spills as we watched those catamarans speeding over the water like their Polynesian forerunners, the double canoes which sailed past Captain Cook's ship when he encountered the Pasifika peoples.
    It might well have been a rigged regatta (there was some underhand fiddling with the rigging on one boat, and Team NZ reached the finishing line first at least nine times) but the end result was really a satisfactory outcome.

The Tribune (Palmerston North, NZ) 23 October 2013. p. 11

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