Where were you at dawn a year ago?

If you're a sports or technology fan, the chances are you watched Emirates Team New Zealand recapture the Auld Mug at the 35th America's Cup regatta on Bermuda's Great Sound.

As sailing commentator PJ Montgomery described it on Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport:

"What a rollercoaster ride it has been - highs, lows, joy and heartbreak - but the reservoir of experience in the high-octane and unforgiving world of the America's Cup has been invaluable for the New Zealand challenges, called Team New Zealand since 1995, in pursuit of the most illustrious and elusive prize in sailing. It's been 22 years in the making."


Read more: One year on: How Team New Zealand won the America's Cup

It's hard to put ETNZ's second successful Cup challenge more eloquently than that, although some would simply prefer to call it a "Bermudaful Day".

Back home, fans packed in wall-to-wall at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to support a corporate syndicate which somehow always captures the public imagination through a national obsession: sailing.

Flags waved patriotically and smart phones recorded the moment forensically as Aotearoa crossed the line.

A cluster of helmet and lycra-clad men leapt across the deck to embrace after their 7-1 series victory over holders Oracle Team USA.

The moment savoured not only their satisfaction from the final victory, but the obstacles negotiated in the campaign.

The pitch pole capsize accident-and-repair during the semi-finals against Ben Ainslie Racing was a prime example.

Andy Maloney's leg was stitched by Dr Heather Burling, mother of helmsman Peter, Simon van Velthooven's helmet caved in as his head hit the front of the boat, and Blair Tuke narrowly escaped injury as he flew past the daggerboards.


The repair brought stories of exhausted shore crew members returning home at 3am before getting an hour's sleep and heading back to base. Others slept on the wing room floor.

"Once again, the America's Cup is New Zealand's Cup" - PJ Montgomery. Photo / Photosport.nz

However, the ghosts of the defeat from 8-1 up in San Francisco were eventually exorcised.

That was perhaps best exemplified by the no-look gybe on leg two of race nine in the Cup match. The move had often been practised in what Montgomery described as the team's "back paddock" off Beachlands, but never in competition.

Design genius was at play too, using legs to power the grinding and thus freeing up arms and hands for more intricate tasks.

Recognition was also due for the vigilance of the off-water operations team who helped the boat go faster.

Syndicate boss Grant Dalton confessed the team sailed on damaged daggerboards against Oracle, after an error on the second day of the challenger final versus Artemis. Ultrasounds were performed on the boards each night to check their fitness.

The wider support network in Bermuda was diluted from that of the San Francisco campaign. In 2013 fans were less than a day's travel from the destination, whereas last year the prospect of getting to Great Sound was a logistical battle from New Zealand.

Few Kiwis could afford to stay for the duration, although there was no lack of dedication from those that did. One example was a chap turning up fresh from hospital at the village. His arm was in a sling with myriad weeping wounds on his chest after falling off his scooter and convincing the ambulance driver to take him directly to the waterfront. He didn't want to miss a moment of finals racing.

Local support was valuable as well.

Several of the ETNZ crew chose to commute via Thundercat boat across the harbour. Their flat was across the road from the beachfront, but a family on the opposite side offered to house their vessels, enabling easier access to the water.

They ended up waving Kiwi flags.