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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

America's Cup Hall of Fame: Highlights of 34 years of commentary - Peter Montgomery

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 8 Aug 2020 22:02 PDT 9 August 2020
Peter Montgomery interviews Peter Blake with Russell Coutts after the 1995 America's Cup win in San Diego. © Montgomery archives

Peter "PJ" Montgomery will be inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in March 2021.

He is just the third "chronicler" to be admitted to the esteemed Hall of Fame - normally the domain of multiple America's Cup winners, notable team principals, designers of multiple Cup winners or others with decades of America's Cup involvement.

Known universally as "The Voice of the America's Cup", Montgomery is from a sporting background - both as a competitor and then as a commentator of multiple sports including Test Match Rugby, Olympic Rowing and Olympic Athletics, as well as International, World and Olympic Sailing.

His association with Peter Blake opened up the broadcasting of trans-oceanic sailing. Blake and Montgomery took their radio audience into the Southern Ocean via the crackle of single sideband radio, and always with the opening line "how are you, where are you?"

The former school athletics champion can look at a situation through the twin lens of a competitive sportsman, as well as the more detached view of a commentator.

Internationally he is best known as a yachting commentator, but in New Zealand, Montgomery covers several codes including the privileged position of being sideline-eye for test match and national rugby matches.

PJ has the unique talent of being able to talk to the stars of all sporting codes with the awe of a 12-year-old, in language that can be understood by his famous little old lady with the blue-rinse hair from Riverton, and extract responses from sailing newbies to America's Cup champions that answered the unspoken questions in the minds of even hardened and expert sporting fans.

Key parts of the Montgomery commentary arsenal are his connections - his "men in the field" providing inside information, accessed via an invaluable black book of phone contacts; together with a lexicon of Montgomeryisms that can sum up any situation in less than a sentence.

A radio-man, Montgomery used the "live-cross" to handle breaking sailing news, using the best available technology - be it landline in the '70s to mobile phone a couple of decades later.

Montgomery began his live tack by tack, radio broadcasting career covering the 1970 OK Dinghy Worlds, and then the 1971 One Ton Cup. Both events stretched available technology to its maximum, in days where many homes still had party-lines and what is accepted now as standard communication technology was only glimpsed and used on Star Trek.

PJ attended his first America's Cup in 1980 and has delivered a live commentary of every America's Cup race involving a New Zealand boat from Race 1 of the 1986/87 Louis Vuitton Cup on October 5, 1986, when KZ-7 took on Heart of America. As well as commentating at the 1992 Louis Vuitton and America's Cups, Montgomery was the commentator in the movie "Wind", using 12 metre yachts that had participated in Cup racing in 1987 and starring Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey.

During that era, he anchored the live commentary of New Zealand's three America's Cup wins in 1995, 2000 and 2017, as well as the many heart-breakers in between.

Highlights of PJ's America's Cup career:

Image Gallery America's Cups 1987 to 2010

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