Posts Tagged ‘Yacht racing’

The America’s Cup has been a fiercely contested yachting race since the schooner ‘America’ won a race around the Isle of Wight against the British boats in 1851. Shortly afterwards, the New York Yacht Club Commodore John Cox Stevens donated the hundred guinea cup to the New York Yacht Club, stating it was to be “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.” Friendly and not-so friendly competition has carried on ever since, with New Zealand winning the “oldest trophy in international sport” yesterday for the fourth time. No one has yet beaten America’s original record, however, of winning the trophy for 132 years straight, the longest winning streak in the history of sport.

When a friend invited us on their launch last weekend to join the flotilla watching a day of the America’s Cup racing, I jumped at the chance. What an unprecedented opportunity to get a front-row seat on Match Day 3. The challenger, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) would race against the defender: Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL).

On Saturday, another mutual friend collected me and my son, Samuel, from our house. We travelled to the marina in the city where we met everyone on the pier at one thirty in the afternoon. It was a happy gang of people, loaded down with beers, wine, food and swim gear who boarded the motor launch.

“Hold on,” said our esteemed captain, “once we get going, the water is seriously choppy out there because of the number of boats.”

He was not wrong. It amazed us to see thousands of boats on the harbour. As a result, we pitched about wildly. There was no point at which our boat levelled out. I was worried about Sam–he had to hold on to solid surfaces with two hands just to walk from one spot to another. I shouldn’t have worried. Sam took it all in stride. He donned his headphones and listened to the radio. He did some colouring in at one stage at the tiny table, and mostly he ate his way through the afternoon. The amiable ladies on board with us had brought cheeseboards, sushi, chips & dip, quiche and a fruit platter. They set it out on the table and kept encouraging Sam to eat more. So he did! Still, it kept him occupied.

“Look, there goes the Luna Rossa!” someone said. We glanced to our left. They restricted harbour traffic to five knots. So the lead boat towing the Italian yacht and the two police boats seemed to fly past us at lightning speed. Much farther to our right, Emirates Team New Zealand, was similarly being towed to Course Area A.

Our esteemed captain had a tough job navigating the teeming waters. Hundreds of boats flanked us or followed in our wake, while ahead lay two thick walls of boats stretched either side of the racecourse. Once we reached the sideline of Course A, we downed anchor and marvelled to see every imaginable water vehicle, from the floating palace with an H on the side, to three people astride a jet ski, to Little Toot, the tiniest tugboat you ever saw.

The luxury launches dotted everywhere sported beautiful young women sunbathing in bikinis on deck between swims. Young men jumped off the top decks, showing off, and meanwhile, more boats arrived, every minute jostling for space.

Two enormous launches crammed full of people did an impressive job of threading their way through the already crowded flotilla to reach their privileged spot at the front.

There was a shout, and we raced out of the cabin in time to see the NZ Air force fly overhead in formation. It was exciting. At that stage, at the start of the day, the Match had tied 2-2. We were all eager to see what would happen next, knowing if the Italians won too many of the races it would make it harder for us to win the cup.

Race 5 began at 4:15pm. We stood on the seat to look from the open sunroof as Luna Rossa won the race. The flotilla was silent. Race 6 began with all of us hanging off the bows and sterns, delighted when Emirates Team New Zealand won Race 6! The crowds aboard the surrounding flotilla waved NZ flags above their heads, jumping up and down and whooping. The volley of boat horns was deafening. This left the Match tied at 3-3. A glorious end to a glorious day, as my dad used to say. How lucky were we!

To see Emirates Team New Zealand win the 36th America’s Cup yesterday was the icing on the cake. Wonderful! Well done to them, and to the Luna Rossa team, who were gracious in defeat. Did you watch the race?

Talk to you later.

Keep creating!

Yvette Carol

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Looking forward to what you desire is the key to renewed hope. ~Simone Butler

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