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Cup Fever

Watching the America's Cup in NZ

Up early to watch the America’s Cup in New Zealand. Late to school, again. (No, that’s not aboard Wondertime. More on that soon, I promise.)

I think I might get it now, this little country of New Zealand. Or at least a little bit more than I did a few months ago. I thought to myself earlier this week: “Man, if we’d left to go south from Washington just two years later not only would the girls have been older, out of diapers, and actually remember the trip [Holly has no recollection of sailing across the Pacific, yet alone California, Mexico....] but we would have been in San Francisco for the America’s Cup.”

“Scratch that,” I replied to myself.

New Zealand is the best place to be watching the America’s Cup action from. It’s absolutely everywhere. Cup talk is on every TV station, every radio station. It’s been the cover of the NZ Herald for weeks. There are live viewings of the races on the Auckland waterfront with hundreds attending, lining up at 6am to get into the shed. I’ve talked about it with pretty much every Kiwi I know, even the other mums and teachers at the girls’ schools. They are showing the later second races at Holly’s kindy in the mornings and Leah tells me it’s on in her year 3 class too. Everyone is talking about sailing. Everyone wants ETNZ to bring the cup home. So. Bad.

The desire to win is thick here, so palpable. People care so much. New Zealand boat builders and sailors are the best and everyone wants the world to know. I sense this little country – which barely makes it onto nearly every map I come across – feels like they are up against big bossy America and is determined to show that the little guy can win with pure skill on their side. The problem is the big guy has a whole lot more money and can afford to improve his boat each day (with Kiwi builders, ahem) and that might be the trick. It’s not been looking good these past few days for the Kiwi team and I worry what will happen when everyone’s clenched fists collectively release tomorrow. I seriously see a spike in Prozac scripts happening if the cup stays in San Fran. Major national pride is on the line. It’s that serious here.

What they don’t know here is that your average American couldn’t care less about this little sailing race on the bay. At least there hasn’t been a peep about it on The Daily Show, or even Colbert Report, which is about all the news from the U.S. we can take these days. Maybe I’m wrong and there’s more a buzz in the U.S. about the Cup this year outside of sailing aficionados but judging by all the posts about football on my facebook feed I’m doubting it. I certainly remember absolutely nothing about the America’s Cups from years past, except maybe shrugging it off as a bunch of rich guy’s toys.

Clearly, it’s still a bunch of rich guy’s toys. But after experiencing the Cup from the other side of the ocean, I can see that it’s much, much more than that to this proud island nation. My fists are clenched too.

Kia kaha Aotearoa.

Addendum: I just came across this post from a NZ blogger via the ETNZ Facebook feed and I think it says it all…

An Open Letter to Emirates Team New Zealand, from Team New Zealand

 

Watching America's Cup at kindy

Watching America’s Cup race #14 at kindy

 

Watching America's Cup at Microsoft TechEd Auckland

Watching America’s Cup at Microsoft TechEd Auckland

12 Comments

  1. Jan says:

    Aloha,
    I watched the series, rooting for ETNZ to win the cup. Although I am a Hawaii-born American, I wanted the Kiwis to win this, and I watched each race (at work, no less!) with such anticipation that when all was said and done, I felt the grief and disappointment along with Dean and the boys. I still do, and I’m still getting the “trash talk” from my friends about this. Good thing I’m not a violent person!

    Kia kaha Aotearoa.

    Hope to see ETNZ competing again in 3 years, in learning from their mistakes, and to take Oracle’s technology to the next step in making a better, faster boat.

    Aloha!

    1. Sara says:

      So good to hear from you Jan! Everyone is pretty bummed — or gutted as they say — here. Maybe we can get a billionaire on board for next time? :-)

      1. Jan says:

        Aloha Sara,
        Time will heal all (including me!) and the technology is there for ETNZ to learn from. The boys sailed with such heart and courage, they are TRUE champions in my book. I really hope to see them again at AC35!
        Keep the faith, New Zealand!

        1. Jan says:

          Forgot to mention that we own a 50′ staysail schooner named “Pink Cloud.” She is currently at the Baja naval shipyard in Ensenada, Mexico undergoing re-fitting for the past couple of months. October 1st, my boyfriend Paul will depart Honolulu to Ensenada to finalize and put her back in the water for her sail home, to Hawaii. Will be her first time in warm waters, we bought her in Napa, California.

          We have a blog, you can follow us (and the upcoming journey across the Pacific) at:
          http://www.trimmingout.blogspot.com

          “Trimming Out” was our former boat, a 40′ ChrisCraft blue water cruiser that we sold in Berkeley, California prior to purchasing Pink.

          Check it out, maybe we’ll sail down to New Zealand one day!
          :o)

  2. Sandy says:

    Cool you guys, cheers for sharing and thanks for the support. Happy sailing. Next time ay? Hey, we did build both those boats? Should have put our name on both of them.

    1. Sara says:

      Definitely next time Sandy! Love your writings and look forward to reading more of your views!

  3. Allow me to check Google News USA for you. Okay, there’s the sports news….here we are, allow me to recap: Okay, tops stories concern NFL player news….oh, then there is some NASCAR news, Earnhardt won the pole at Dover….let me see, Americas Cup….Americas Cup, must be here someplace, let me scroll down further….hmmmm, well, way down on the bottom…wait for it….two WNBA players receive double technical for kissing…sorry, that’s it. You’ll be happy to know nothing has changed here.

    1. Jan says:

      Strange here in Hawaii as well, no mention or coverage of AC even after Oracle won. I talk to people from all over the world at work (I work on Waikiki Beach) and only a small handful even “knew” what AC was about, but I built relationships with the Kiwis who were visiting my home state and we cheered, and grieved, together.
      Beautiful people.

      1. Sara says:

        Hi Jan! We were in Waikiki briefly on our stopover from Auckland to Seattle a few months ago. It was the first time in Hawaii for us and we just loved it there! The girls keep asking, “when can we go back to Hawaii??” :-) I truly think that the Polynesian spirit is amazing and it extends all the way from NZ to Hawaii. So lucky to live in the Pacific!

        1. Jan says:

          Aloha Sara,

          Let me know when you’ll be returning to visit. I work on the beach outside the Outrigger Waikiki hotel and I can help you out with beach lounges/umbrellas and the like.
          :o)

    2. Sara says:

      :-) And the news here is back to all rugby, all the time so things have returned to normal here too. Hope your trip southward is going well! Miss you all.

  4. Sara says:

    Look at this! The America’s Cup finally hits the US news!