Trip to the Big Smoke - Part 3

Finally leaving Pier 14 on the Ocean Eagle. The elevated boat hull in the background is the huge J-class 1988 Americas Cup Challenger KZ-1 on display outside the Auckland Maritime Museum. KZ-1 was the centre of Americas Cup contraversy when owner Micheal Fay took the San Diego Yacht Club to court in the US and won a bid to challenge for the cup in 1988. A splendid boat but the races were naturally one sided. Stars & Stripes was a Catamaran skippered by the sometimes infamous Dennis Conner. Of course the Catamaran won. Here's the history behind that somewhat crazy event from the New World Encyclopedia

The end of the 12-meter era

In 1988, soon after Stars and Stripes’ victory had redeemed Dennis Conner’s reputation but before the San Diego Yacht Club had publicly issued terms for the next regatta, a New Zealand syndicate, led by merchant banker Michael Fay, lodged a surprise “big boat” challenge under the original rules of the cup trust deed. The challenge used a gigantic yacht named New Zealand (KZ1) or the Big Boat. Fay had challenged using the maximum size yacht possible – even larger than a J-class yacht – which was swiftly built and presented for the contest. Conner’s syndicate, however, recognized that a catamaran was not expressly prohibited under the rules. Catamarans, due to lower mass to sail area ratios and other factors, are in general vastly quicker than monohulls. Conner did not leave anything to chance, however, and commissioned a cutting-edge design with a wing sail, also named Stars and Stripes. A legal battle ensued over whether Conner or Fay had broken the rules or if both had merely skirted the edges of them. The teams were directed by one American court to compete in the race, which New Zealand predictably lost by a huge margin. A second court then awarded New Zealand the cup, only to have a third court decide the San Diego Yacht Club should hold the cup.
The Viaduct is full of Charter boats and the home of course of Team New Zealand. In the background are the cafes and bars that are around the waterfront. All of them were packed out with visitors from all over the globe. We were off though on a four hour cruise around the inner harbour......Part 4 on its way


  1. Keep them coming, I love to watch the boat races but, your pictures make them seem more real.

  2. That is so funny! Very interesting...

  3. Yes, I remember the NZ challenge to the Cup and how the general consensus was that NZ was robbed.

  4. Hi guys,

    At this rate I sound likeone of those wierd tour guides. Where's my tip!!!LOL.

    Leslie I love yachting used to crew on a keeler many moons ago

    Red Clover - Glad you are enjoying it. I think the entire ordeal with the Americas Cup was crazy and a waste of money.

    Jayne - Yeah the entire thing was a big farce to begin with. Conner had big bottles of Moet already stashed on board knowing he'd blow the monohull right out of the waterline. Stupid really Fay should have kept his stash in his wallet.