Glenbervie mum nervous as son-in-law gears for Cup clash

By Hannah Norton

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ONSHORE SUPPORTER: Sandra Easterbrook, whose son-in-law Chris McAsey is a grinder on Emirates Team New Zealand's AC72. In the framed picture are Chris, Sandra's daughter and Chris' wife Suzy, and their daughters Brooke and Billie. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
ONSHORE SUPPORTER: Sandra Easterbrook, whose son-in-law Chris McAsey is a grinder on Emirates Team New Zealand's AC72. In the framed picture are Chris, Sandra's daughter and Chris' wife Suzy, and their daughters Brooke and Billie. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

Sandra Easterbrook will be sitting nervously on the edge of her seat when her son-in-law takes to the water with the rest of the Emirates Team New Zealand squad tomorrow.

They will be going head-to-head with Oracle in the first race of the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco, after crushing the Italian boat Luna Rossa seven races to one in the Louis Vuitton (LV) challenger series.

Ms Easterbrook's son-in-law Chris McAsey is the grinder on the team's AC72, positioned closest to the bow.

"When he changes sides he's the last one to run across and he's got the furthest to run - he's a busy boy," Ms Easterbrook said.

One who has already had a scare after Team New Zealand had a near-capsize and two men overboard in the LV opening race.

"When the boat was tipping, it was heart-stopping," says Ms Easterbrook. "Chris was holding on like grim-death, but he did get dunked under the water."

McAsey is married to Ms Easterbrook's daughter, Suzy. They have two daughters, Brooke, 5, and Billie, 2, who are with the couple in San Francisco at the moment.

Ms Easterbrook has just returned from her trip from the US with McAsey's mother, and will be watching the races from her Glenbervie home.

"I'll be just as nervous as if I were over there. I know Suzy gets nervous."

The team has a "surprising" number of supporters over there, she said. "It's amazing how many Kiwis are there."

And she thinks Team New Zealand's chances are good. "Oracle is going to be the main challenge.

"Let's face it - it's not going to be a walk in the park. Home advantage makes a big difference," she said.

Another disadvantage is the fact the Oracle team have two crews to substitute from, whereas Team New Zealand have a squad of 15, with 11 on the boat at any one time.

That means if any of the New Zealand crew are injured, the team are put under more pressure than Oracle would be, she said.

The weather could also be a major influence. "The tides, the current and the wind make a huge difference."

To bring back the Cup would be "really exciting and a reward for all their hard work for the last 10 years."

And to lose it would be "devastating for them". "But they are professionals, and professionals know that when you win, you win, and when you lose, you try again."

"But no - they'll win," she said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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