The America's Cup has become known as much for the off-water antics as it has for the on-water action. The event's history is one rich with diplomatic squabbling, jealously guarded secrets, deceit, mind games and out-and-out feuds between sailors. The 35th America's Cup has thus far been no different. To assess the level of unrest in Bermuda, the Herald have come up with a highly scientific measurement - behold the niggle-o-meter.
Rather than the usual inter-team tension, today's niggle was directed at a different source - those asking the questions.
Dean Barker kicked things off by telling the moderator of the press conference his question was "silly". Barker had been asked if he was the top challenger - ie sitting in Team NZ's spot, would he choose to take on Softbank Team Japan in the challenger semifinals?
The moderator, who is kind of like the press conference warm-up act, was clearly trying to find a polite way of asking if Team Japan was the weakest of the four confirmed semifinals for next week's challenger play-offs, but Barker was not picking up what he was putting down.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"It would be pretty hard to race ourselves, I guess we would be guaranteed to have a good result. I'm not sure, it's a bit of a silly question."
Then it was Peter Burling coming up with the wisecracks, when a writer from a specialist yachting magazine began grilling him on Emirates Team New Zealand's daggerboard selection and wingsail control systems.
Bemused by the detailed line of questioning, Burling responded:
"Yeah, I think a lot of people are wanting to know that mate."
Not to be outdone, Jimmy Spithill was also quick to remind Kiwi journalists Team NZ are not in the Cup match yet. When asked if tomorrow's showdown with Team NZ, which will decide the winner of the qualifiers, was effectively the first match of the America's Cup, Spithill responded:
"I guess you're suggesting Team NZ will be in the America's Cup, is that what you're suggesting as a Kiwi media person?"
It's what most of the America's Cup world is suggesting, Jimmy.