Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"The America's Cup Is Now New Zealand's Cup!"

Who could forget that moment...
Today in history, on 13 May 1995, "Black Magic" crossed the San Diego finish line surrounded by a swarm of spectator craft.
NZ tv commentator Pete Montgomery excitedly coined his legendary line: "The America's Cup is now New Zealand's cup!" The phrase was repeated over and over as NZ enjoyed one of the most significant moments in its sporting history.
The run-up to the 1995 Cup was notable for the televised sinking of oneAustralia during the fourth round robin of the Louis Vuitton challenger selection series, with all hands escaping uninjured. The 1995 defender selection series also had the first mostly female (with one man) crew sailing the yacht USA-43, nicknamed "Mighty Mary". And NZL32 had been dubbed "Black Magic" because of her black hull and uncanny speed.
For the 1995 event, Team New Zealand syndicate head Peter Blake assembled a 'dream team' of kiwi sailors. Our extremely fast boat was superbly sailed by 1984 Olympic gold-medallist Russell Coutts, who was ably backed up by the astute tactician Brad Butterworth and navigator Tom Schnackenberg.
The emphatic 5-0 sweep achieved by Black Magic over Stars and Stripes was all the more impressive given that its opponent, the controversial American helmsman Dennis Conner, was a four-time winner and widely regarded as 'Mr America's Cup'.
And make the win even sweeter, five years later in Auckland, Team New Zealand became the first team from a country outside the US to successfully defend the America's Cup. And Pete Montgomery re-worked his legendary line to be: "The America's Cup is STILL New Zealand's cup!"

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