Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

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,

Wildwind 2016 660x82North Technology - Southern SparsBarz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Sydney Hobart Race-Dark and stormy, well because it is Dark and Stormy
Proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart Well it is now dark and the rain 'storms' have passed, but proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart, the custom Murray 37, Dark & Stormy had a wonderful exchange on the radio. Quite possibly it was co-owner and Navigator Terry Courts on the VHF in the super-frank exchange with Hobart Race Control at around 1928hrs on 29/12/16.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Wicked
ather and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery Father and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery, but Mark is out on the water, approaching Hobart. From on board he said, 'Amazing race. Barely any windward work. Just does not get better than this. Bit of gear damage cost us early, and we had to sail a little conservatively.'
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Accepting the Challenge
When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South at Christmas time. Luckily this has not been a problem for Chris Mrakas and his new crew, which includes Bruce Reidy
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – 67 out of 70
It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite in the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race so far, then it is more than A+++. Anto Sweetapple from on board the Jones 40, Quetzalcoatl, reports in from at sea for us.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2016 - The 60 Hour report card
60 hours into the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart race. 16 boats finished,five boats retired and 67 boats at sea. The state of play 60 hours into the 72nd running of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. At 0100hrs Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time this morning, 16 boats had finished the 2016 race. Five boats had retired, and 67 boats were still on the water.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016