Once Ruled the Waves
Backgrounder for the Kiwi Americas Cup Successes
By Keith Newman
New Zealand lost the Americas Cup to
the Swiss boat Alinghi captained by New Zealander Russell Coutts.
The embarrassing 5-0 loss
came after an unfortunate string of problems including the black boat
filling with water, the boom breaking and the mast snapping.
Up until the end of February
2003 New Zealand held the coveted auld mug for
the second time.
This small nation at the top of the world snatched away the globally sought after
"Auld Mug" from the San Diego Yacht Club, California in
New Zealand challenged in
1986/87, '88 and '92 and finally under captain (the late) Sir Peter Blake on May 13, 1995
suceeded, bringing the cup home to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland.
The win came after an unsavoury slanging match with the Americans in 1988 when a Catamaran was entered
against New Zealand's KZ1. The resulting court battles which initially declared the Kiwis
the winners, were overturned after three years of wrangling. Again a minor issue
over the bowsprit sparked a major dispute in 1992 preventing a new Zealand
In the end New Zealand ingenuity, design, thinking and technology, as well as the
combined efforts of Team New Zealand bought glory to these shores with the success of
Black Magic against the world's best in 1995. The 30th defence of the America's Cup
was staged in Auckland in February 2000 and won again by Team New
Zealand in black Magic.
The 31st America’s Cup Match began on Saturday 15th February 2003.
(the late) Sir Peter Blake who inspired New Zealand to its success
on the water
on three separate ocassions.
In 2002 there were 10 challengers
representing seven countries vying for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right
to race Team New Zealand for the America's Cup this time. This was
whittled down to Oracle and Alinghi in the final race on February 19th
2003 with Alinghi taking the honours.