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Paul Casserly: The best and worst TV moments of the Cup

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Emirates Team New Zealand, right, nearly capsizes during the eighth race of the America's Cup. Photo / AP
Emirates Team New Zealand, right, nearly capsizes during the eighth race of the America's Cup. Photo / AP

"Well at least we don't have to have to listen to Martin Tasker whining on like the whinging pom that he is." Words to that effect could be heard at the dairy this morning as I brought some crumpets for comfort in my post race depression.

For all the criticism of his commentary - and it was pretty terrible - his nightly reports remained solid and among the best TV about the cup there was.

Commentator Peter Lester was the star performer - he nailed it - and so too was the coverage. Wow, it was slick as. Amazingly, it was only seen by hundreds of thousands in the States on NBC, while over a million of us watched here.

A different perspective was to be found on the BBC World coverage I came across last night. Of course it was all about the amazing come-back, and the spectacle of the cats hooning along at 70kph. But it was refreshing to see a non-partisan perspective, which was basically saying "hey, look at this amazing sporting thing". In fact I've never seen anchor Nick Gower look so exited off the back of a story.

But while the pictures were great: steady helicopters, onboard cams as good as the ones on One Born Every Minute, we're often lacking the words. We had the same problem at the last Olympics. Perhaps we're just too small a country to have decent commentary aside from the rugby?

The verbal part of our TV coverage of the cup croaked and groaned like the rigging in the boats. So much so, that like a lot of you I supplemented my TV experience with radio, checking in with Pete Montgomery for a bit (for old times sake) but settling with a mix of the TV and the NBC announcers that made up Radio Live's coverage.

The Americans not only out-sailed us, they out-talked us too. Strangely, I was always drawn back to our TV, to our Lester and our Tasker, when things got serious. And let's not ignore the pure entertainment value that Tasker provided with his George and Mildred style moaning and groaning. Like the whinging poms, we Kiwis like to have someone to moan about too, and Martin came up trumps in that department.

5 best moments

1: The near capsize was one of the best I reckon. Talk about literal edge of the seat. I imagine that few of us stayed on the couch for that one.

2: Seeing Grant Dalton on board slogging his guts out like a legend.

3: Jimmy Spithill's dad being interviewed on Campbell Live at the height of the hatred against his son.

4: Martin Tasker burping on air.

5: The last race was the best moment for me. It was epic. It was all on and we were leading. We all knew their boat was now, and had been for a week, faster, but we were in it to the bitter end. I recall thinking, "this is it", and it was.

5 worst moments

1: The gradual realisation that the number above their boat was always a click higher than ours.

2: The 'stunt' by those dicks, the so-called 'Kiwi Ninjas'. God help me, that was lame. If you're going to prank Larry Ellison's house at least take a dump on the mat or egg the f-ing house.

3: While Chris Dickson seemed bearable for the first few days, for some reason I couldn't reach for the remote fast enough towards the end.

4: Seeing how broken Dean Barker was at the end.

5: The number one worst moment for me was the question from TV One's Craig Stanaway when he asked Dean Barker if he could assure NZ that the team "won't choke like the All Blacks did in the past."

I'm hoping that he regretted the words the moment they left his lips. To be fair, finding that balance between provocative and awful is more art that science. It can't be fun to be the focus of that sound that filled the room after he let the question loose. I imagine that groan will haunt him for a bit.

You might think it weird, but I still have fond memories of that day when our other America's Cup boat started taking on water on the Waitemata Harbour, and when that mast snapped. What a moment to witness. We've just witnessed another epic loss in our sporting history, with the emphasis on epic.

What are your best and worst TV moments of the cup coverage?

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