Last week, BYM News came across some papers, about the America's Cup, written by Professor Roger Boshier, of the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Having read these papers, BYM News contacted Professor Boshier and asked if he would be prepared to answer questions, aimed at providing better understanding of ETNZ's America's Cup campaign.
Professor Boshier - a New Zealander, currently in Valencia, where he has been doing some research for Grant Dalton and sending out a newsletter, called Schnack-Net - agreed, but instead of responding directly to BYM News, he published modified versions of the questions and his answers in his Schnack-Net newsletter.
BYM News is publishing its original questions and Professor Boshier's responses and wishes to make it clear that the views expressed are, entirely, those of the Professor and have not been edited in any way.
BYM said: "ETNZ sailors have showed very little emotion throughout this series. Win or lose, the expressions have remained impassive, until we got the first smiles when they won the LV. Even then it was all rather restrained, compared to Luna Rossa glee at getting into the final, or the Desafio boys’ exuberance when they beat ETNZ in the semis."
Is this deliberate policy, so as not to give anything away, or a case of Kiwis not believing in wearing their hearts on their sleeves?
Professor Boshier said in Schnack-Net:
WHY DO NEW ZEALAND SAILORS LACK EMOTION?
They don’t lack emotion.
And are only now recovering from the highly emotional LVC party!
When Peter Blake formed Team New Zealand he sent Coutts and Schnackenberg flying around the world to talk to anyone who knew anything about the Cup (Dennis was very forthcoming).
Blake realized there had been too much aiming at low-ranked goals - small railway stations en route to the big one. Particularly in 1987 and 1992, it looked like New Zealand would scoop up the Vuitton and go on and grab the America’s Cup. There were too many “we’ve got it in the bag” rumours before the job was done.
Peter Blake put a ban on premature celebration.
Got it ! No premature celebration.
“We didn’t come here to win this race. We do not come to win the Vuitton Cup. We came to win the America’s Cup. When that is done, there will be a party.”
As well as Blake’s admonition, there is the kiwi focus on getting the job done. Kiwis are embarrassed by National Hockey League or soccer scenes where grown adults jump on each other after scoring a goal.
It’s dangerous, saps energy and opens a window for the other guys to bang in a matching goal (which happens a lot). It is cringe-inducing when kids at the local rink or park ape what they see on television.
After NZL-32 won a race in 1995, Matty Mason forgot the orders and gave someone a high-five as they crossed the line. For that, he was tossed overboard (but took a few other blokes with him).
After Desafio took their 2nd race from ETNZ they celebrated like they had won the soccer world cup. Your agent was sprayed by their champagne and, for a second, wondered if Blake may have been wrong.
But did the Spaniards ever win another race? No ! Oh the folly of premature celebration!
It’s about keeping your eye on the ball.
Until the auld mug is in the compound, high fives, back-slapping and American-style carry-on are beside the point.
BYM said: "The America’s Cup was an American institution, yet few Americans seemed to grieve much over its loss. New Zealand held it very briefly, yet it seemed the entire nation mourned when it was taken away.
Why is this particular Cup so very important to ordinary New Zealanders?"
Professor Boshier said in Schnack-Net:
WHY IS THIS CUP IMPORTANT TO ORDINARY NEW ZEALANDERS?
Because it is a grand and extraordinary international contest dominated by New Zealanders !
And involves restoring mana and maybe a bit of utu.
Utu is roughly equivalent to revenge. But, in this case, it will be with charm and humour. People will still talk when it is over.
New Zealand is a small country of only 4 million. Getting the Cup back now would boost the economy but, like Lord of the Rings and other triumphs, demonstrate the kiwi way is the right way. And gets the job done.
Hopefully, the cold-blooded clinicial Swiss approach is about to get humbled by full-on kiwi passion.
There are two BYM questions that await an answer:
New Zealanders are very strongly against anything nuclear. They made this very clear when the Areva sponsored French boat arrived in Auckland. The UAE, whilst calling for removal of nuclear weapons, is not averse to having them if deemed necessary. Only last month, Mostafa Alani told Iranians “If you're going to turn your nuclear program into a weapons program, we'll do the same.”
How are Kiwis coping with having a sponsor that does not share their nuclear aversion?
Talking to Kiwis, we have found that an overwhelming majority of them do not think, or hope that ETNZ will win, they KNOW. Many are even adamant that it will be ETNZ 5, Alinghi 0. We have the impression that this is not mere wishful thinking, but a deeply ingrained belief that their team is invincible.
What do you see as the psychological effect on Kiwis of ETNZ losing to Alinghi, especially if those forecasts of a 5-0 ETNZ rout were to be reversed?
BYM invited Professor Boshier to add anything he wished to draw attention to. He said in Schnack-Net:
WHAT IS THE NEW ZEALAND SECRET WEAPON?
ETNZ has a taniwha !
Nobody other than a New Zealander knows about taniwha, although, in Canada, raven and coyote have similar qualities.
Our taniwha is our secret.
Taniwha is a little guy with a sense of humour and penchant for mischief. They live in water and, if their eyes twinkle you know they are on their way to mischief.
The prudent New Zealand knows not to upset the taniwha.
Yesterday the Alinghi spinnaker blew up because of the taniwha.
The taniwha is not used to working in euros and made a mistake in the timing.
But, once Alinghi begins the uphill struggle against gear failures, you can be certain the taniwha has arrived and will be on the side of the good guys.
You heard it here first.