So we asked him for a yachtie's perspective of the America's Cup match series between Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand. The syndicates go head-to-head in San Francisco tomorrow morning in the first race of the best-of-seventeen contest. Here's his guest post:
The Americas Cup Match September 2014KS asked me to give my opinion as a sailor of the Americas Cup which starts NZ Time at 8.15 am on Sunday 9 September 2013.
I thought about waxing lyrical about the AC72’s, the teams (or lack of), the crews, the shenanigans, and the venue but the reality is that all that stuff is easily available online or in the print media so anything I say would only repeat what others have said more capably.
So what follows is, in brief, what I think about the event. It is the opinion of a bloke with some modest experience as a sailor and as a race management volunteer including helping with the 2000 and 2003 defences.
I grew up with a sailing obsessed father. I grew up with the cup and NZ’s involvement. Until the responsibilities of fatherhood landed on my shoulders I was sailing obsessed, going out on the water on average 3 times a week.
The cup has for me been an emotional rollercoaster. Despair in 1987. Hope in 1992, Joy in 1995 and 2000. Anger, later on, in 2000. Despair again in 2003 and 2007. And now hope again in 2013.
The most interesting feeling is dread. I don’t know who is faster of the two boats that contest the Americas’ Cup on Sunday.
We knew, sort of that NZL 32 was faster in 1995. Again we were confident that we had the measure of Luna Rossa in 2000. The boats in 2003 had similar speed but the TNZ boat had frailties and in 2007 the word was that Alinghi had a boat that was a click faster, but even then TNZ only lost 5-2 (and one of those losses by 1 second if that). So we had an idea of the relative merits of each competitor.
I suspect that Grant Dalton is right when he says he doesn’t know. Oracle is said to be fast. I know that Aotearoa is fast. The telemetry data from their races is available online. We will only know on Sunday who is faster.
Which bring me back to dread and I suppose anticipation. If Oracle is faster then ETNZ have a problem. Why? The course is short. The races are completed within 45 minutes. There are not that many passing lanes even if you can foil upwind at 30knots. So I don’t know. No-one does. We have to wait and see.
My hope is an evenly contested match with ETNZ beating Oracle on the water and leaving the shenanigans that have been recorded elsewhere behind. And if ETNZ wins then "yahoo" for two or three days and then the hard work begins to build an event.
If ETNZ are not successful well they deserve congratulations. They have been innovative and creative. They have been an advertisement for NZ beyond anything we have previously had including the AB’s.
My heart says ETNZ will win. My head would like to.
We thank Quintin Hogg for sharing his thoughts with us. In 24 hours time we will have an idea whose boat is faster, and where the next America's Cup regatta will be held. Here's hoping that it is in Auckland.