More than 1000 America's Cup fans packed Auckland's waterfront yesterday to watch Emirates Team New Zealand take on Oracle in what many hoped would be the tail-end of racing in the competition.
Crowds started streaming in - waiting outside Shed 10 - from as early as 7.30am, and it was standing room only when race 8 got going about half an hour later.
There was mad applause and whistling when Team NZ made the start line, and each time the screen showed the Kiwis were ahead.
British engineer Jayden McKenzie, 43, a sailing enthusiast, said he had become an America's Cup addict since moving here to be with his New Zealand partner in 2003.
He said the atmosphere made his effort to wake up early yesterday well worth it.
"Sailing is one of those things where it's more exciting to watch on telly than being on the harbour," he said.
Diane Barron, 62, from Freeman's Bay, said she loved the idea of cheering on the team "as a group of Kiwis".
But then came a unified gasp of disbelief as Team NZ's AC72 catamaran nearly capsized.
Fan Catherine Stone said she had her "foot in the mouth" when that happened.
"I don't know how the boys felt, but my heart is still beating a million times a minute," she said.
Win Myint, 67, a self-confessed "mad supporter" of Team NZ, said he got hooked on coming to the waterfront to cheer for New Zealand on the big screen since the last Rugby World Cup.
"It's electrifying to be here cheering with other Kiwis, and may be the next best thing to being at a stadium," said the former soccer and table tennis player from Burma.
"I'll definitely be back to see our boys bring home the Cup."
Shed 10 will be open again this morning at 7.45am for today's first race, due to start at 8.10am.
Messages of support
You guys are amazing. Loving the racing and we know that you can bring the America's Cup home.
Keep on sailing, and never let them faze you because you are the best sailors in the world. And don't you forget it.
- Michele and John Matangi
The way Dean & the team maintained cool and calm after race 8, then bowled in confidently to race 9 shows what incredible professionals they all are. It's truly inspiring - I'm proud to be a Kiwi on days like this!
- Sarah Holden
We are behind you every inch of the way. What an amazing save today. You are the best.
- Butler family
Well done today to get over your hiccup with the rounding. To front up and be ready for the next race was amazing. Keep up this amazing work you are doing. All the best for the next 3 races. Bring it home!! NZ is very proud of you all.
- Don and Joanne Clarke
We are so enjoying watching the race. Our hearts were pounding this morning with the near disaster. Take care and continue to make the 4.4 million New Zealanders proud.
- The Whits
Great recovery. The Yanks thought we would be shattered but sitting in Kona surrounded by them and a few Kiwis we told them it would take more than that to shatter our boys. Go for it, we are right behind you.
- Sandy and Ross, Kiwis holidaying in Hawaii