This is not the entry I was ever hoping to have to write. But here we are the day after and it hurts. Yesterday’s loss in the deciding race was a bitter pill to swallow. But the writing was on the wall the day before when Oracle sailed around us on the upwind leg showing some serious pace. The final race was tough. We knew we needed to win the start and lead around the bottom gate to have any chance. We did that but very quickly we knew we were in trouble as they sailed past us and kept extending. There was nothing we could do.
I am so incredibly proud of the Team. What we have achieved over the past 3 years has been amazing and something I have enjoyed more than any other time in my sailing career. The attitude of the Team even after Oracle began their comeback was incredible with not a person ever close to throwing in the towel.
Credit has to go to Oracle for the way they turned things around. Having had a good speed advantage over them in the first week upwind, this quickly changed to them having an advantage over us in the second week. How they managed to do this was phenomenal. Unfortunately for us we had pretty much tapped out all the performance we could from our boat.
The emotion of having lost this Cup is pretty raw. Having been only one win away from bringing the Cup home, to then lose it makes things so much tougher. I can honestly say we could have done no more. The two final races we had the lead at the bottom gate and normally would have extended from there. But things had changed so dramatically with Oracles upwind performance they pretty much sailed around us.
I have never been so touched as I feel today. I have had a constant stream of emails directly and through ETNZ and Kiwi Yachting. Most emails are from people who I have never met but the kind words of support and encouragement are very strong and humbling. To me losing the AC is a failure. As a Team we came to San Fran to win the AC not to compete. We came so close but unfortunately fell just short and to finish second is just not enough. Through the support of all these amazing people it certainly helps to soften the hurt, but it still does not change the result.
One thing I will never forget is the support the Team has received from NZers both here in San Fran and at home. It gave the Team a huge lift to have such passionate supporters. I just wish we could have given all our supporters the result that they wanted.
I cannot say enough about how moving the messages of support have been. I want to say thanks to all of our supporters in NZ and around the World for the compassion they have shown. It is incredibly moving for me.