Americas Cup racing has captured my imagination since 1997 (Go KZ7!!!). The 1995 victory set the nation on fire (I had the priviledge of attending the “welcome home” reception at the Beehive), and successfully defending the cup in 2000 made us ten feet tall and bullet proof.
Then came 2002. Now it seems most of us don’t care anymore.
Except I love it. Sure, it’s a big boys game, I’m not a sailor, but “Go Kiwi!”
Actually, the patriotic fervour is a funny thing… Looking through the team listings, there are a lot of kiwis on a lot of boats. Of the top five syndicates. Sure, Team New Zealand have 21 Kiwis from 28 sailors (who knew that we had seven foreigners on board?), but BMW ORACLE nearly matched us with 20 Kiwis from their 37 sailors.
Overall, of the three syndicates who entered the semis (including Alinghi), 34 of the 100 sailers are “New Zealand made”. We seem to be very good at this sailing thing, clearly outnumbering other nationalities.
Or are we just (once again) experts at a sport that the rest of the world really doesn’t care much about?