How Do They (NZ) Do It?


Super Anarchist
New Zealand
You will learn very fast that the Kiwi fanboys think they are god's gift to the world of sailing...  Everything they do is the greatest that has ever happen. 
There are 4 people in the world EVER who have won an Olympic Gold medal, won and successfully defended the America’s Cup and they’re ALL Kiwi’s. 

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Unseen Work

New member
Haven’t scanned the entire thread so apologies if someone covered this point: I think Kiwi’s do design and development just a bit differently. Sure boat simulation has probably changed this some, but I’ve seen it in car and bike rallying, on construction sites and a few other places. They come up with an idea that might work, then do a “quick and dirty” test run of a mock up version 1.1. They don’t engage much with conventional processes or precedent approach to, say, construction best practice They build a mock up fast and cheaply, give it a run and either chase down that design line, if the “success” criteria are met, till it becomes clear that they need to reverse out of the wormhole, or they ditch it and move on. People will just do this at home with a mate, bring the idea into a team or group if it looks like working and they won’t really be given a hard time by the established project management or design team. That saves heaps of time in development. Yep, others do it to, but kiwi’s do it as a matter of course. Seen it heaps. No idea why it’s the case.



Super Anarchist
Someone once told me that NZ had the highest number of yacht owners as a percentage of the population, and anecdotally I believe it, having seen the fleets of small boats round the place, other countries might have more people sailing, but thats because they have massively more population. The more of your population you expose to sailing, the higher chance you have of finding someone talented, combine that with decent training programs from an early age that encourage sailing, and it becomes a numbers game, you just have a higher chance of producing good sailors. Australia does well at sailing for similar reasons, get the kids interested at a young age, get them out on the water and enjoying it then push them down the pathway. The UK does ok out of sheer bloody mindedness and a top notch Olympic program.



It's hard to understand from the outside.

I'd love it for an insider to write an in depth engineering / management memoir on how it comes together.



I think a big part of ETNZ's success can be traced back to an industry of world class builders who because of their isolated location couldn't survive unless they adpated very quickly and innovated faster than their offshore competitors; think of Cooksons, Southern Spars etc. The next key part is Peter Blake and Dalton and their approach and particpation in Whitbread races. This is where they learnt about sponsorship, leadership, failure, determination, and most importantly how you go about putting a team together and create a culture that is sustainable and successful.  The All Blacks don't always live by it, but have a much quoted "no dickheads" culture.  Jimmy Spithill who was a dickhead in San Fran was a huge motivating factor to Dalts and ETNZ. Think about how humble the ETNZ crew are and how they have thrived on smaller budgets. They all earn very good money but I don't think this is the prime motivation.  I think LR had many of these values. While it possible to win a one-off AC, it's hard to sustain a winning team unless you have this culture. Some really tough decisions for INEOS and the first thing they need to get their heads around is that more money  doesn't always help.

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Super Anarchist
Auckland, NZ
When I was at school in Auckland the tuck shop sold only pies and donuts. :)

View attachment 435168
But it was a manky Big Ben pie, and dodgy mass produced donut...




He might regret now how that provocation worked out. ^_^
I think the Italians were a good influence on Jimmy and he was a good influence on them. Jimmy fed off Larry who is a great mentor for a dickhead. In Auckland, Jimmy tried so hard to not be a dickhead, but it didn't come naturally. If you are really good and are motivated by money you will need to change teams if the money runs out. Coutts has a very big house and great track record so hats off to him.


LCS Carbon

Bruce Farr was a boatbuilder first. I think he was apprenticed to Jim Young, or was it Alan?

He was one of the first to utilise a canting keel in his keelboat, Fiery Cross.

The Young 88 featured a unique interior layout which has since been copied in all boats of this size and type.

Young employed many young sailors and designers through his boat building business, the most notable being a young Bruce Farr, who went on to become a highly successful designer in his own right on the international racing scene.

The first 88 hull was strip-planked under my (Jim Youngs) supervision by Greg Elliott for the Satherwaites in Roger Land’s yard, under an arrangement whereby Roger took a GRP hull mould from the plug, before handing it over to the Satherwaites.
Tickled Pink was therefore not only the first 88, but also it has the distinction of being the first yacht to be built using a new construction method, which subsequently revolutionised custom boat building. This was the now standard technique of using a strip-planked core as a former for a special fibreglass and epoxy covering, inside and out which possessed enormous strength. This is now popularly known as the West System, after the material suppliers (The original Rocket 31 was also built this way, in 1983.)


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Super Anarchist
He might regret now how that provocation worked out. ^_^
Undoubtedly. He came within an asses roar of being taken off the boat in SFO and again, in Bermuda where his confidence was shattered. LRPP offered him a job, generously brought him into the family, rebuilt and restored his confidence but most importantly, rehabilitated him to sparkle in a team full of decent people. And it has been the makings of him in more ways than one. Look at the genuine affection and friendship between him and Checco. Who would have believed it. best of all, he described his spin with LRPP as the highlight of his career. Let's hope they get to continue and compete valiantly in the next AC. Dalton described them as 'warriors' and he doesn't give out compliments easily. More than anyone, they deserve a shot at redemption. And the spectacle would be all the better for it.

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I'm afraid to say, when the Aussies took the cup from a bunch of millionaires and their egos, we thought fuck it, we can do that too. It took a while for the right people to assemble, but now we're a bone with a DOG.  :)



Super Anarchist
Australia punches above its weight in many areas because it is a young country with a prematurely mature economy with an educated population built on a can-do culture with a big inferiority complex about the rest of the world.

New Zealand punches way above its weight in many areas because it is a young country with a prematurely mature economy with an educated population built on a can-do culture with a big inferiority complex about the rest of the world and Australia.
I think THIS sums it up. 

They punch above their weight in cricket, netball and have been the dominate force world rugby (although not always winning the world cup despite being overwhelming favourites for the past 2 decades). I'm going on a limb here, but the slight inferiority complex to Australia just enhances all of those attributes.

In terms of yachting, they do quality. They build top class boats, spars etc.  Surprisingly they were world class innovators in GPs technology for marine applications too.

various factors lead to them being good at sailing, but excellent at the America's Cup - interestingly it is inconceivable for there to be 2 successful NZ syndicates (see what happened when Ailinghi chequebooked them). If there was the drive to do a similiar australian challenge the whole time ETNZ has been around they could well have won it all themselves.




I would like to read the anthropological study of Kiwis that explains why they are so dominant in the America’s Cup. They’ve won 4 of the last 8 ACs and were 3 for 3 in challenger cups during that same span. And yet, there are more than 100 countries with larger populations, and more than 50 with a larger GDP. Hard to come up with another sporting event where so much success in such a technically complex field has been achieved with so little.

It’s not convincing to say that everyone in NZ sails, so no wonder their success. Lots of people sail elsewhere in far greater numbers and in well-heeled sailing meccas. ETNZ designs are typically a cut above the field, but one would imagine that competitors from countries with universities the likes of MIT, Cambridge, and Politecnico di Milano, the design field would be relatively even. Generational talents like Coutts and Burling help but are insufficient on their own. Money is no advantage for NZ either.

Although I love the country and have been a fan of ETNZ for a long time, part of me was hoping for an LRPP win because it’s easy to cheer for the underdog and it’s good to see the Cup change hands. At the same time, ETNZ have always been the underdog. Paradoxically, they are frequently the favourite. It’s impressive and perplexing all the same.  
I think the colour of the boats and shirts are the key differentiators.  :p


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