Please select your home edition
Edition
Raymarine AUS 2018 Aug - Axiom - Leaderboard

‘I am glad I lost the America’s Cup’ says Dennis Conner

by Rob Kothe on 25 Oct 2002
The Sailor who stood between Australia and the America's Cup. The Man the Kiwi's love to hate. Dennis Conner - his name is synonymous with the America's Cup.

The villain, who stood between Australia and the Cup for many years, is in the middle of his ninth campaign to win yachting's most famous trophy.

Conner won the cup four times, in 1974, 1980, 1987 and 1988, and lost it twice, in 1983 and 1995.

Big Bad Dennis is sailing again for the New York Yacht Club, almost 20 years after he lost the cup to Australia II in 1983.

The loss ended the New York club's 132-year stranglehold on the Auld Mug.

Talking yesterday to an audience of yachties and businessmen at yesterday’s Air New Zealand luncheon at Sydney Tattersalls Club the 60 year old sailor is still passionate about the America’s Cup.

‘Me losing after 132 years was the best thing that ever happened to the America's Cup and the best thing that ever happened to Dennis Conner,'

‘Before the win by the Australians, the America's Cup was only big in the minds of the yachties, but the rest of the world didn't know or care about it at all. But when we lost it… it was a little bit like losing the Panama Canal - suddenly everyone appreciated it.

If I hadn't lost it, there never would have been the national effort to get it back in Fremantle, and without that there never would have been the ticker-tape parade up Fifth Avenue in New York, lunch with the President at the White House and all the doors of opportunity that it opened...’

Asked how he felt after that historic loss. ‘It was awful. I just did not want to get out of bed in the morning. I am usually full of like and energy. . I just wanted to hide. But I figured out that I just had to get it back and that mission is what got me going again.’

After winning the cup back in Fremantle in 1987 then came the farcical defence in San Diego.

He sailed a 70+ foot Cat, and his Kiwi competitors had a 90-foot monohull he called a Dog.

Then everyone sat down and draw up a sensible set of rules. After that Conner saw victory go to the New Zealanders in a fair fight and then the Kiwis Black Magic sailed the Challenger Prada off the course in the last series.

Back in Auckland again, with the New York Yacht Club for whom he had historically lost it.

‘They did not like me for a long time, after all I was that big fat loser, but they’ve not been able to mount a good campaign without me, so now we are back together.'

Conner explains that only two campaigns are without a B. His and the Kiwis.

'B’s ...Billionaires. Usually there is one billionaire in each campaign. This time there are seven billionaires to race against. We have four of the top 50 richest men in the world and two of the top 10.'

Conner is not on the wheel of Stars and Stripes, but is acting as campaign manager. It has been his name and reputation that has gathered together the large group of Corporate sponsors who have produced the NYYC effort.

Who does he think will win the Challenger series?

Well, if it comes to December and his Stars and Stripes is not in the contest. After yesterday's loss to Prada that is looking increasingly likely.

‘I’d have to put my money on Russell Coutts, he is the best sailor in the world. The Alinghi team knows the gulf and they have a B behind them.’

Almost to reinforce those comments as Conner was talking in Sydney, Russell Coutts skippering the Swiss Alinghi, beat Australia’s own James Spithill and the OneWorld crew in a close race yesterday afternoon.
KYC - Baltic AUS 660 Lifejackets SwedenRS Sailing BOTTOMIDS--Bruce-660x82

Related Articles

National Sailing League hits Australian shores
Now it's the southern hemisphere's turn Mark Turnbull OAM, gold medal winner in the 470 class at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and Howard Elliott have teamed up to bring the national league concept of clubs fighting for the title of best sailing club of the year to Australian shores.
Posted today at 12:21 am
Monohull line honours for Wizard
Magic Moment in the RORC Caribbean 600 David & Peter Askew (USA) racing their Volvo 70 Wizard have taken Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Caribbean 600 crossing the finish line on Wednesday 20 February at 07:08:44 AST in an elapsed time of 1d 19h 38m 44s.
Posted on 20 Feb
Steinlager back onboard with Emirates Team NZ
Steinlager signs on with Emirates Team NZ for the 36th America's Cup Emirates Team New Zealand has announced that Steinlager will return as an Official Sponsor and Official Beer Partner of Emirates Team New Zealand's for the defence of the 36th America's Cup - on the team's home waters in Auckland in 2021.
Posted on 20 Feb
Golden Globe Race day 234
Third placed Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa has escaped disqualification Third placed Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa has escaped disqualification from the Golden Globe race after breaching the strict rules forbidding outside assistance, but has been handed a 72-hour penalty for asking and receiving weather routing information
Posted on 20 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 Record for Maserati Multi70
The extraordinary events will be remembered for years to come Maserati Multi 70 skippered by Giovanni Soldini (ITA) crossed the finish line of the RORC Caribbean 600 at 20:49:00 AST on Tuesday 19 February 2019 in an elapsed time of one day, 06 hours 49 minutes and 00 seconds
Posted on 20 Feb
23 years of 18ft Skiff Racing Sponsorship
The Rag & Famish Hotel has been a successful sponsor of the 18 Footers on Sydney Harbour Since the late George Calligeros purchased 'The Rag' in May 1975, the hotel has developed equally strong family values as Peter and Anna Calligeros continue the business under the Calligeros Hotel group banner.
Posted on 20 Feb
Enter Sydney Harbour Regatta now
Early entry rate has been extended to February 25 Fabulous prizes await placegetters in Middle Harbour Yacht Club's (MHYC) Sydney Harbour Regatta to be held over the first weekend of March - but you have to enter first and the early entry rate has been extended to February 25
Posted on 20 Feb
Oma – Named Peril - Forewarned is Forearmed!
Her trajectory is not clear, but is important to utilise the knowledge of the past, and prepare now Her name is Tropical Cyclone Oma. Her trajectory is not certain by any means, but is important to utilise the knowledge of the past, and prepare now, whilst there is still ample, usable time.
Posted on 20 Feb
Entries open for Helly Hansen Women's Challenge
MYC invites all female sailors around Australia For the past 24 years Manly Yacht Club Women's Challenge has had a commitment to encourage, excite and support Women in sailing at every level of experience.
Posted on 20 Feb
2019 Teakle Classic Adelaide to Port Lincoln Race
Slow going in traditional Lincoln Week long race It is one of the most picturesque days on the South Australian sailing calendar, however yesterday's Teakle Classic Lincoln Week Regatta 'long race' was slow going in light conditions for the four divisions.
Posted on 19 Feb