Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: At least we didn't throw a tantrum

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After a long and expensive campaign, Emirates Team New Zealand will return home from San Francisco without the Auld Mug, the world's oldest sporting trophy. The team had its chances but ultimately, it was beaten by a faster boat.

Dean Barker and the team could, on occasion, outsail Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA but when it came to pinning your ears back and sprinting for home, the revamped, spruced-up Oracle boat beat them every time.

Of course, the conspiracy theorists came out in their droves with their stories about why our campaign was derailed, as did those who were adamant that had they been consulted at any stage during the America's Cup challenge, it could have all turned out well for our lads.

I had one man call me and tell me in an urgent, rapid-fire monologue that he had invented the fastest boat in the world and he'd shown the plans to successive Team New Zealand syndicates but because he couldn't afford a patent lawyer and because Team New Zealand directors wouldn't sign a confidentiality agreement, he'd had to keep the plans for the world's fastest sailing craft to himself.

Until now, he said. We've got one race to go and I'm happy to pass my information on in the interests of New Zealand, he told me, but I need Dean Barker's number so could I have it, please.

Ah, that would be no.

Some came out of the woodwork, blaming and complaining. From the sounds of them, they were the same people who were experts in mine explosions and knew exactly what needed to be done to rescue the miners at Pike River. They were also the people who knew how to refloat the Rena. And blow me down, they're now match racing and catamaran experts. Who knew we had so much talent in this country?

Others blamed themselves. A gorgeous friend of mine, who has never taken the slightest bit of interest in any sport, became enthralled with racing in week one and a dedicated fan. She is now berating herself for throwing her support behind Team New Zealand and feels if she'd maintained the status quo and a complete lack of interest in anything sporty, the team might have won.

But for the most part, New Zealanders I spoke to were gracious in defeat and accepted that Team New Zealand had done the best it could, which may be an indication we're growing up if you consider our collective public tantrums in the past when our sports teams have lost. Or it may be an indication of how enjoyable the match racing between these two teams was.

I had no intention of watching any of the sailing but I accidentally saw Race 3 and the speed of the catamarans and the tactics of the sailors hooked me. I had no emotional investment - cheering for "our boys" meant cheering for both syndicates, as there were more Kiwis than any other nationality involved in Oracle's defence and it it was Kiwi technology that gave Oracle's cat that all-important second week surge.

Not being completely one eyed about the racing meant I could also enjoy the banter that accompanied the competition.

I loved the Herald's front pages - particularly the Scaredy Cat edition ... but that seems so long ago now.

Of course I'm disappointed that we won't be hosting the America's Cup in New Zealand - but in terms of showcasing New Zealand maritime ingenuity, on and off the water, we're winners.

- Herald on Sunday

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