America's Cup: A letter to Emirates Team NZ from Team New Zealand

Emirates Team NZ’ s Kiwi fans on the end of Pier 23 after Day 8

G’day Deano and the crew.

This is from us back home. You’ll be having some strategy meeting. Knocking around a few ideas. Hell, you might even be asleep. Us at home? We’re doing that too. You’ll have your eye on the big picture, the San Francisco bay weather, the clouds, the rules, what the Americans (or is it Aussies?) are doing to their boat over night. Probably giving the big outboard motor a polish, if the last few days are anything to go by.

We don’t know about any of that stuff. We know bugger all about sailing. I don’t mean that lot by the sea up North with their flash boats sitting around the yacht club yelling at the television in some nautical language we don’t speak, they know about sailing. I mean us. The rest of us out in New Zealand.

Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 10 Royal New Zealand yacht Squadron fans watch the first Race 13
We are getting up every morning to watch you and the boys taking on the Billionaire at a sport none of us know about.

We want you to win it for us. You’ve got Team New Zealand written on the boat. That’s our boat. We are Team New Zealand.

We should be going to work or school, some of us are and taking a radio or even a TV along. Most of us though, are at home or by a TV somewhere, anywhere, watching you and the boys racing up and down San Francisco bay after a little yachting cup with someone else’s name on it.

We don’t know what a jibe or a tack is. Well we didn’t but we do now. We don’t know what a lay line is or why some of you keep running back and forth across the boat. We have no idea how it goes so fast into the wind or why it looks like a space ship on water. How it doesn’t even seem to float in the water, but skims on those ‘foils’.

We just know it has Team New Zealand written on it and that’s who we are.

Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 2, San Francisco. Emirates Team NZ fans at Marina Green
We are out there in places often nowhere near the water watching every race. We aren’t sailors, most of us have never been on a yacht.

We run coffee shops in Tirau. We drive trucks in Te Kuiti. We are sitting on a quad bike on the side of a hill near Hunterville with the commentary on an old transistor radio. We teach kids in Palmerston North, or we would if they weren’t at home watching the America’s Cup.

We are talking about the days races (or not) with people we don’t know in the pub after work in Westport. We compare our new expert opinions on yacht racing with strangers on a commuter train from Tawa.

Outside New Zealand we are in Edinburgh, Munich, London, LA, and Lima. Doha, Goondiwindi, Cairo and Helsinki, wherever we are, we’ve found a way of watching. We are even on the waterfront in San Francisco. We made a special trip. We are Team New Zealand and our name is on the boat.

This is what we do you see. We get behind our people in black taking on the world. All of us. We become experts in things we knew nothing about. OK, we need the television to put graphics all over the screen so we know what’s going on. We listen to the commentators telling us things as though we were all sailors.

We aren’t though so we don’t know what they are talking about. What we know now is that you have to win the start and you have to win the finish. The stuff in between? No idea mate.

But we are Team New Zealand and our name is on the boat. You do the sailing, we’ll be willing you to win, that’s our job, all of us. No other country does this like we do. This is who we are. This is why we win.

When you take on Team New Zealand, you take on the whole country. We’re watching Deano, all of us.

We are Team New Zealand and our name is on the boat. Let’s write it on our cup and stick it on the mantelpiece.

Just one more to win Deano, see you soon mate. Bring the cup home.

Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 7 San Francisco. New Zealand fans on Day 7 at the end of Pier 23

Dean Barker and crew acknowledge their fans on shore after winning their second race of the day. - America's Cup

Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 4, San Francisco. Fans shoreside after Race 7

Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 7 San Francisco. New Zealand fans on Day 7 at the end of Pier 23

Day 5 - Watching Race 8 - Kiwi fans - after the near capsize

Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 2, San Francisco. Emirates Team NZ fans at Marina Green