Please select your home edition
Edition
Ensign 728

America's Cup- Roaring Kiwi Thunder in San Francisco

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 9 Sep 2013
Dean Barker and crew acknowledge their fans on shore after winning their second race of the day. - America’s Cup Chuck Lantz © http://www.ChuckLantz.com
Take a walk around the America’s Cup Park, located at Pier 27/29 in San Francisco, and you’ll immediately notice three things: a sea of t-shirts proudly displaying Emirates Team New Zealand’s (ETNZ) colors, lots of Kiwi and Aussie accents and huge New Zealand flags. The Stars and Stripes are also present, of course, but in smaller doses (both physical size and sheer number) and with far less national zeal than the Kiwi contingency.

Imagine the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Stanley Cup taking place on the same day. For the Kiwi team and their loyal fans who travelled half a world to see the 34th America’s Cup, this regatta represents the absolute pinnacle of professional sports (with the possible exception of rugby), and, as ETNZ skipper Dean Barker has said on several occasions in so many words, ‘nothing less than victory will do’.


Step outside the media center and listen to the howls and cheers of excitement, all issued in an antipodean accent, and it becomes dead obvious that Barker’s words perfectly echo that of his countrymen. Nothing less than victory will do, but, based on ETNZ clean sweep yesterday, that’s now starting to become more and more of a possibility.

As for American fans, ours is a harder lot to rally around. Sure, Oracle Team USA is populated with some of the best sailors in the world, their leadership comprised of some of the biggest and most revered names in sailing and their design team spot-on.

The worry? The same thick antipodean accents that are heard from ETNZ’s boat during the races can also be heard from the comms coming off the 'American' boat. Sure, Old Glory flies high from Oracle’s mighty wingmast, but there just simply isn’t the same panache amongst American fans as there is from the Kiwi contingency.



To be fair, Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA’s Australian skipper, is a huge name around the San Francisco waterfront, but in the States it’s baseball and football players who command the limelight, not sailors.

Even with the AC34 posters and flyers all over town, odds are good that Spithill could walk into a pub or restaurant on the other side of town without causing too much of a stir. Juxtapose that with Barker’s likely reception anywhere in Auckland (depending, of course, on how this week goes), and, well, the pixels self-populate.

Couple this with some legitimate bad PR that Oracle earned through their 'dervish in a dolphin striker' revelations from last month, and it becomes a bit more clear as to why more American/Oracle fans decided to be less vocal than their 'friends' from DownUnder, even if the crew also includes ace American sailors such as tactician John Kostecki, grinder Rome Kirby and Tom Slingsby, who is half American and half Australian (his mother is a Yank).

So what does this nationalistic banter have to do with the racing? Nothing, of course, but a fan can’t help but wonder if this is having any sort of psychological impact on the 'American' team as they attempt to defend.

Couple this with the fact that Oracle now needs to win eleven of the next fifteen regularly scheduled AC34 races to successfully defend, while ETNZ only needs to win seven more bullets to take sailing’s greatest prize back to Auckland, and Oracle’s true psychological nature comes into focus.



The weather is currently foggy in SFO, but the morning sun is burning off this layer and the forecast calls for relatively light winds, so hopefully the Race Committee can rifle-off another two great races today.

For anyone planning a visit, Marina Green offers amazing views of the course, while the America’s Cup Park is the best spot on the waterfront to take-in the finishing-line action. Just be prepared for a roar of Kiwi spirit, as all of New Zealand is demanding nothing less of their team than a rousing victory and the corresponding celebrations in Auckland.

Perhaps Oracle fans should consider this case study and wave Old Glory a bit higher in the San Francisco sky during today’s races.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Abell Point Marina 660x82 MoorFremantle to Bali Race 660x82InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2016 - Day 4 Images by Crosbie Lorimer
The Mistral finally blew itself out on Day 4, permitting the Race Committee to run two coastal course The Mistral finally blew itself out on Day 4, permitting the Race Committee to run two coastal courses for the 52 participating yachts in breezes that started at 15 knots and slowly faded as the afternoon wore on. Day 5 (Friday) saw the winds lighten further bringing some changes to the podium positions of several divisions
Posted on 10 Sep
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2016 - Day 2 Images by Crosbie Lorimer
The Mistral is in and howling at Porto Cervo! After a brief lull to permit racing on Day 2 after the Day 1 cancellation, The Mistral is in and howling at Porto Cervo! After a brief lull to permit racing on Day 2 after the Day 1 cancellation, we have a second 'Lay Day' on Wednesday with racing again cancelled due to high wind speeds and a large seaway. The conditions were near enough perfect on Day 2 however, with 17-18 knots and a short sea, the breeze dropping later in the day.
Posted on 7 Sep
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 20126 - DAY 2 Images & VIDEO
The fleet of 49 maxis finally hit the water in north-westerly winds of 17-18 knots and a short and sharp seaway. The S The fleet of 49 maxis finally hit the waters off Porto Cervo in north-westerly winds of 17-18 knots and a short and sharp seaway on Day 2. The Super and Mini maxis headed out for a coastal race and the Maxi 72s & Wally fleet competed in two windward/leeward races. The choppy seas made for exciting footage and images.
Posted on 7 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ train late on the Waitemata Harbour
Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. The team were sailing their recently launched AC45 Surrogate test boat which features an articulated rudder gantry - taking the AC45 close to the geometry of the AC50 to be used in the 2017 America's Cup.
Posted on 1 Sep
The C Beetle Project
Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Such is Phil Smidmore’s tale of Mick Miller and if I could be so bold as to implore you to read, then I know your life will be the better for it!
Posted on 30 Aug
Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug