Dean's Blog

Hi all

Well a very long time since the last post.  It has been an interesting period and plenty happening.  Still no news though on what the next AC holds in store.

However on Friday Team New Zealand had the great honour of hosting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in a match race battle between the two of them.  We raced on board the two Sail NZ IACC yachts on a tight course outside the RNZYS.

I was fortunate to sail with William back in 2010 when he was last in NZ, but this time was on board with Kate racing against William which was a great experience.  Kate was certainly very competitive and it became quite evident she was happy to beat William in both the races we sailed.

It is one of those very cool things in life that I get to do and certainly treasure the experience.  Great also to see the Royals wearing our Baltic lifejackets!

It is now looking forward to the release of the Protocol and learning about what is in store for the next AC.

Back in NZ

Hi

I arrived back into NZ yesterday to probably the most humbling experience of my life.  Hundreds of people turned out at Auckland Airport to welcome the Team home with signs, red socks, and some incredibly loud cheering.  It was certainly the last thing that any of us were expecting and it was a very emotional moment.

The support for the Team has been absolutely amazing given we were not successful in our goal.  If anything it has become even more of a motivation to challenge again, to go one better.

I cannot thank our supporters enough for the words that have been written.  Deeply moving and touching.

Dean

It's over

This is not the entry I was ever hoping to have to write. But here we are the day after and it hurts. Yesterday's loss in the deciding race was a bitter pill to swallow. But the writing was on the wall the day before when Oracle sailed around us on the upwind leg showing some serious pace. The final race was tough. We knew we needed to win the start and lead around the bottom gate to have any chance. We did that but very quickly we knew we were in trouble as they sailed past us and kept extending. There was nothing we could do. 

I am so incredibly proud of the Team. What we have achieved over the past 3 years has been amazing and something I have enjoyed more than any other time in my sailing career. The attitude of the Team even after Oracle began their comeback was incredible with not a person ever close to throwing in the towel. 

Credit has to go to Oracle for the way they turned things around. Having had a good speed advantage over them in the first week upwind, this quickly changed to them having an advantage over us in the second week. How they managed to do this was phenomenal. Unfortunately for us we had pretty much tapped out all the performance we could from our boat. 

The emotion of having lost this Cup is pretty raw. Having been only one win away from bringing the Cup home, to then lose it makes things so much tougher. I can honestly say we could have done no more. The two final races we had the lead at the bottom gate and normally would have extended from there. But things had changed so dramatically with Oracles upwind performance they pretty much sailed around us. 

II have never been so touched as I feel today. I have had a constant stream of emails directly and through ETNZ and Kiwi Yachting. Most emails are from people who I have never met but the kind words of support and encouragement are very strong and humbling. To me losing the AC is a failure. As a Team we came to San Fran to win the AC not to compete. We came so close but unfortunately fell just short and to finish second is just not enough. Through the support of all these amazing people it certainly helps to soften the hurt, but it still does not change the result. 

One thing I will never forget is the support the Team has received from NZers both here in San Fran and at home. It gave the Team a huge lift to have such passionate supporters. I just wish we could have given all our supporters the result that they wanted. 

I cannot say enough about how moving the messages of support have been. I want to say thanks to all of our supporters in NZ and around the World for the compassion they have shown. It is incredibly moving for me. 

Today was day four of the AC Finals and a very important day for both teams. Oracle after using their postponement card on Tuesday came out today with a change in the after guard putting Ben Ainslie in for John Kostecki. For us it was all about more of the same. 

The first race I did a terrible job of boat positioning and timing to come off the line well behind. But the guys dug deep and we went around the bottom mark not far adrift. Upwind we positioned the boat well and managed to get past Oracle and then extend away for the win. It was a hard fought affair with a lot of tacks which was hard on the guys. 

Race two we led off the line and extended around the course for a solid win and move our score to 6.  

We race again on Saturday with two more races. Still plenty of work to do

Day 3

Day 3 was a good day for us. Races 5 & 6 were scheduled in what was forecast to be a nice 16-20 knot breeze. 

We had a good start in the first one but were rolled on the first reach by Oracle. However we did a better job of keeping things close on the run and rounded the bottom gate very close behind. We quickly found our wheels upwind and managed to get around them on the first exchange and stretch out a good lead. 

The second one was also looking to be sailed in good solid breeze however Oracle chose to use their postponement card and not have to race. Each team is entitled to one card for the event in case of gear breakage or weather conditions. This can only be used though on the second race of the day. 

So we now sit at 4 wins in the first to 9 point format. A long way still to go!

We have a day on shore tomorrow and back into racing on Thursday. The guys will spend the day debriefing and resting up before two more hard races. 

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