Monday

Mandy hammered on the bathroom door this morning and yelled, "Dean! Phone for you."

"Who is it?"

"The old guy."

"Tell Grant I can't talk right now."

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I lay back in the bath and contemplated my rubber ducky. It had quite beautiful lines and enjoyed a steady, reliable kind of buoyancy. I held it under the bubbles and let it go. It shot back up and landed with a splash.

Then I moved it along the surface at varying speeds by making the occasional wave with my hand, and sometimes my foot. I watched it from differing angles, including underwater. I put on my goggles and got beneath the rubber ducky, and observed its pace and direction.

Much of what I know about sailing is from studying my rubber ducky.

You can't buy that kind of experience. Well, you can. Butterworth and Coutts are proof of that. But I'd never sell my soul to the highest bidder. I'm a Kiwi. I'm staying with the black boat - so long as they'll have me. I keep hearing rumours that I'm about to lose my place as helmsman but it's hard to take seriously.

I've put everything into the boat and the only thing I've ever taken out of it is a lot of money.

There's no "I" in Team New Zealand but if you say it fast enough it sounds like you're saying Dean New Zealand.

I stirred the bath. The water had got cold. It took me back to that terrible day two years ago in San Francisco, the day of the last race against Oracle, the day they won the America's Cup. Every part of me turned to ice that terrible day. The sky turned black. An abyss opened up somewhere deep inside me, and I was falling, falling, falling ...

Mandy hammered on the door again and yelled, "Dean! Dinner's ready."

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"Be out in a minute," I said.

I looked at rubber ducky. He had a big smile on his face. He always does.

Tuesday

I got through to Team New Zealand director Sir Stephen Tindall and said, "We need to talk."

He said, "You need to talk to Grant Dalton."

I said, "Let's me and you talk."

He said, "What would you like to talk about?"

I said, "There's talk that I'm out of the team."

He said, "You don't want to listen to talk."

I said, "So it's just talk?"

He said, "You need to talk to Grant Dalton."

I said, "I'm talking to you."

He said, "I can't talk right now."

Wednesday

My people got hold of Dalton's people and it took all morning for his people to get back to my people and tell them that there was an offer on the table.

I got my people to ask Dalton's people what kind of offer and it took all afternoon for his people to get back to my people and tell them that it was a really good table.

My people tried getting hold of Dalton's people to tell them that we wanted to know about the offer, not the table, but his people had left for the day.

Thursday

The offer arrived by courier post. The package contained a letter, and an apron.

The letter began, "We would like you to help us bring the America's Cup back to New Zealand."

The second sentence read, "We need to raise money for the challenge, and it'd be great if you could stand outside the Warehouse on Saturdays " Stephen said he'd get you a permit " and do a sausage sizzle."

Friday

Mandy hammered on the bathroom door this morning and yelled, "Dean! Phone for you."

"Who is it?"

"Larry Ellison."

I gave rubber ducky a squeeze. "Quack," he said, with a smile that looked kind of sad.