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Sail-World New Zealand- March 10, 2014 - Kiwi 18's can hold heads high

by . on 10 Mar 2014
The first three placegetters cross the finish line only 19s apart - 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship Frank Quealey © /Australian 18 Footers League
Welcome to's New Zealand newsletter for March 10, 2014

New Zealand's 18ft skiff team performed very creditably in the JJ Giltinan Trophy, which concluded late Sunday afternoon on Sydney Harbour.

Two New Zealand boats finished in the top five overall, and three Kiwi crews finished in the top eight in the last race. Yamaha NZ led for much of the last race, duelling with overall winner Gotta Love It 7, and Asko (the previous boats sailed by the Gotta Love It 7 crew).

In only one race, did a New Zealand boat not feature in the top five, and in Race 3, New Zealand boats took first and second.

At least one New Zealand boat featured in the front running in every race, showing that the standard of the New Zealand fleet has lifted to within an ace of the top Australian boats.

This was an extremely competitive fleet, with 34 crews competing from six counties. The standard of the fleet was such, that with the exception of series winner, Gotta Love It 7, it was not possible to get a bad start and then climb through the pack with sheer boatspeed.

Even Gotta Love It 7 admitted that in at least one race they happened to get forced to one side of the course, by a close tacking boat – only to find a massively favourable shift and turn what had been a bad start into a successful recovery mission – going on to win the race.

Don’t forget that this series was sailed on Sydney harbour, which is notorious for its inconsistency and need for local knowledge.

In this area the Kiwis excelled, often picking the shifts better than the top Australian crews, and it was rare to feel that the Kiwis were done on the basis of local knowledge. To the contrary they were often able to pick up vital places through smart sailing and good crew work – which was at least the equal of the Australians.

The class in New Zealand should take heart from this excellent result. With now a ten boat fleet, the class is starting to pull some very good talent, and providing excellent racing. It has a competition base on which to build on this result.

In this edition of’s newsletter we have all the reports and images from the last two days of the racing, along with full replays of both races, and the pre and post race interviews ashore.

We also have an update from the Team Australia and Oracle Team USA series being conducted on Sydney Harbour in AC45’s

Oracle Team USA have announced the addition of Andrew Campbell, who becomes the second US national to join the US team.

As we noted on the end of the official release, in a previous interview, the Challenger of Record's CEO, Iain Murray of Team Australia (Hamilton Island Yacht Club) said that they were expecting to see a nationality clause in the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup of just 25% of the sailing crew. The CoR had been seeking a minimum of 50% nationality requirement, however the Defender Oracle Team USA had pushed back on this.

By definition a 25% limit would mean that the crew size for the AC62 would be eight sailors, and that means that just two would be US Nationals for Oracle Team USA. While this is double what the team had in the 34th America's Cup, it is a requirement that will disappoint many.

The last four America's Cups have been won by a crew that had just one National of the Challenging/Defending club aboard. Team New Zealand was the last winner of the America's Cup with a substantially National crew back in 2000.

Given that the overwhelming majority of fan polls taken after the 34th Cup on the Nationality of crews issue, it is more than a little disappointing to see the Defender make such a token concession on this point – if indeed Iain Murray’s comments have been accurately reported.

The America’s Cup Protocol was promised for mid-March, which the middle of next week, and all these questions and more will be answered at that point.

Auckland radio station, Radio Sport, have retracted and apologised for for statements made on air that two former members of Team New Zealand paid themselves multi-million salaries. We have a transcript of the statement read on-air, and details of the allegation.

To its shame, it took the station three attempts to get the agreed statement made properly on air. The fact that one of those about whom the claim was made is no longer able to defend himself, makes the original assertion even more reprehensible.

Too often when the topic of the America's Cup comes into the public purview, those in the general sports media have the unfortunate habit of making ridiculous assertions, on a topic of which they know very little. Even worse they don't ask those who are in a position to make accurate comment.

Hopefully the stand taken by Alan Sefton in this matter will cause others in the general media to either take the time to understand the issues around the America's Cup, and NZ's involvement, or check with those that do.

Stay tuned.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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