The America's Cup - Probably Time To Say Bu-Bye

In case you're a silly bugger and you couldn't quite decipher the title, my position on Aotearoa's involvement in the America's Cup could be succinctly put - "Let's be honest, in the big scheme of things, no one cares about the America's Cup".

I certainly cared about it a few years back, when Auckland shut down to celebrate sailing a boat against the big dogs. We were the crew that didn't have the most money, but we had the technology advantage as well as infinite sailing knowledge and Aotearoa loved it, Auckland loved it. We could venture down to the waterfront and watch our heroes ride on in after sailing their boat faster than the other guys.

You could venture down to the waterfront and see the big-ass sheds where secrets were held. 

You could pretend you were spy, trying to figure out how the keel was shaped to provide optimum swiftness through the water.

That buzz is why the government pours money into a kiwi America's Cup bid. That buzz means tourist dollars and we all know how much Aotearoa loves the ol' tourist dollar. 

My America's Cup history isn't the best, but once Russell Coutts and his homie Brad Butterworth were bought by Alinghi, it wasn't the same. These guys, along with many others I'm sure, but these two lads made up for the lack of cash with their brains and from that point on we were fighting a loosing battle. 

Dean Barker couldn't replicate the work of Coutts, but he did a pretty fair job. The kiwi boat hasn't won the America's Cup in three attempts, yet the government continues to invest money in to Team New Zealand/Aotearoa despite this fact. 

Aotearoa raised their arms in disgust as Oracle ran rampant over our lads in the last event. It was a mix of disgust and pride I should say, we were proud that our little country had competed with the rich boys but we were disgusted that in the end, the money won.

The America's Cup clearly isn't about who is the best group of sailors. 

Does our involvement in the America's Cup make us feel like we're more important on a world stage? Definitely.

But the America's Cup has changed, it's all money. Greater technology costs more. So why do we continue to try? Why do we care who is at the helm? 

Maybe if Team New Zealand/Aotearoa was funded purely by sponsors and private dosh instead of a large government contribution, it would be different. Do you find it hard to justify why the government spends so much money on something that many of us feel is impossible - competing with the rich boys, as children go to school with no food? Join the bloody club.

We had a nice run of no America's Cup headlines, but they're back. At this point I don't care if we win it again, if we compete again or who is involved. We have so much sailing talent, which is what keeps us in the mix, but I'd love to see it put to better use instead of competing against teams with unlimited budgets. 

Until there's a sailing event where there's a budget and it isn't such an exclusive old boys club type of event, I will continue to not care.

Don't you want to see sailing in its purest form? 

Why don't the government take their multi-million dollar investment (which doesn't offer great returns unless they win) and start a sailing event here? Invite a few nations or just tell Australia to come over and let's race. They have the Sydney to Hobart race which does pretty well each year, so why can't we just create our own thing?

Ah, because we like trying to do the seemingly possible. We like hanging out with the cool kids don't we.