New Zealand shrugs off America's Cup loss

Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:02pm EDT
 
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By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key summed up the feelings of his country when their America's Cup team were beaten by Oracle Team USA in the winner-take-all showdown in San Francisco on Thursday.

"Bugger," he Tweeted from New York.

In a taciturn country where one word is more than enough to convey the gamut of emotions, it said it all. Frustration, disappointment and, ultimately, resigned acceptance.

Tens of thousands had been on tenterhooks for a week as Dean Barker's Team New Zealand established what many considered an unassailable 8-1 lead, needing just one more win to clinch international sport's oldest trophy and return it to Auckland.

Oracle, however, powered back with eight successive wins to seal the trophy in a remarkable comeback that helped make the once-troubled event among the most exciting in sailing history.

"Not unexpected. It just seemed fairly obvious over the last week that the gains Oracle have made they have got better and better," Graeme Mercer, a sailing instructor at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, told Reuters of the final day's racing.

"Our boat wouldn't go any faster and today just showed that despite the minor errors that Team New Zealand had made in some of the previous races, it wouldn't have made any difference."

Backed by NZ$36 million ($30 million) in public funds, Team New Zealand's performances to establish their lead had created a sense of expectation that a trophy they had last held in 2003 was within their grasp.   Continued...

 
Emirates New Zealand skipper Dean Barker (L) is consoled by a crew member after losing the winner-take-all Race 19 of the 34th Americas Cup yacht sailing race to Oracle Team USA in San Francisco, California September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith