Boating NZ : FREE TO READ March 2014
74 Boating New Zealand March 2014 F ollowing the triumph of Team New Zealand in San Diego in 1995, crew member Tony Rae took a job as a drain layer. Rather than seek a job with another America’s Cup team, he wanted to remain available for when Team NZ launched its next campaign. “I was sitting there one afternoon, covered in mud,” he says, “and I remember thinking, ‘Shit, this is a bit bloody different.’ Two weeks ago people were throwing streamers at me and asking for autographs and interviews, and now I’m digging bloody drains.” Events like the America’s Cup are not just done, they are lived. The lives of sailors, designers and shore crew and even their families are hijacked – given up for the cause – as the campaign occupies every waking minute for up to four years. Yet, in the deafening silence that follows the fat lady’s crescendo, competitors are thrust into limbo. Where once there was structure, routine, motivation, there is: “Now what?” Rae has been involved in seven New Zealand America’s Cup campaigns since 1987 and, since 1985, has made four laps of the world on Whitbread and Volvo teams. “Whether you like it or not, the campaign does finish,” says Rae. “And when it does, it just stops. “It actually doesn’t matter whether you have won or lost; it is always the same. There is this massive hype, there are ticker tape parades and we go all around the country and you’re almost like a hero. But then, boom. It stops. And the country moves onto something else. And you go from hero to zero and you think: ‘Shit, what am I going to do now?’” In an interview with Radio Sport’s Tony Veitch, two days after the 2013 America’s Cup ended, an unusually emotional Grant Dalton, battling to accept defeat, described what it was like to say America’s Cup AFTER THE tickertape From powering the winches on a winning America’s Cup yacht to digging ditches in fewer than two weeks... In the world of professional sailing, emotions can flick like the main boom at the bottom mark. Words by Ben Gladwell Photos by Chris Cameron/ETNZ Feature_Tony Rae_March14.indd 74 18/02/2014 6:12:45 p.m.
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