‘Gritty Band of Sailors’ Seek to Slay Goliath
Even the British and Irish are rooting for New Zealand, in what The Independent is billing as a David versus Goliath fight for the America’s Cup, the world’s oldest sporting competition. “The New Zealanders love being David v Ellison’s Goliath,” writes Bernie Wilson, of cup-holders Oracle’s billionaire backer, Larry Ellison.
“But they are still the gritty band of sailors representing a small, sailing-mad island nation of 4.4 million people … [relying] on substantial funding from the Government.”
This tax-payer funded largesse makes defeat to Ellison’s billions unthinkable. It was bad enough losing the auld mug in 2003 to Swiss biotech billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, whose bottomless paychecks saw the defection of Team New Zealand key personnel to Bertarelli’s Alinghi team.
Kiwi syndicate boss Grant Dalton spoke for the nation when he said: “I felt, as a Kiwi yachtsman, for myself and for New Zealand, that it just couldn’t end that way; it should never end that way.”
Now only five points away from once again returning the Cup to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron headquarters in Auckland, Dalton’s determination to engineer a different ending to 2003 looks set to come true.