Best wishes to our Aussie team members on the occasion of their big national holiday, Australia Day
Australia Day, 26 January, commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove on that day in 1788. For some years the holiday was held on the closest Monday, to provide a long weekend. It is now held on the actual anniversary, with that day being the public holiday. Australia Day is marked by civic celebrations around the country, including the Order of Australia and Australian of the Year awards for outstanding achievement. Fireworks celebrations are held in many towns and cities around the country. [Source: Wikipedia
Perth's Australia Day celebration attracted 500,000 people in 2006.
Our team is proud of being an international team of some 150 people from 16 nations, including a significant contingent from "Oz".
So today our guys in AKL had a bit of an Aussie Day celebration as well. The sports rivalry between Kiwis and Aussies is legendary. While our Kiwis and Aussies get on just fine when sailing alongside each other as teammates, the Aussies decided to challenge the Kiwis to some in-house racing today in the best spirit of the AC Deed of Gift's prime directive: "friendly competition between foreign countries."
Sailing team member Mark "Squark" Bradford (AUS) cooked up the idea, and the Kiwis accepted the challenge. With more than 50 percent of our team from New Zealand, it was not hard to find an all-NZL crew to sail with Dicko on 98. Squark recruited the Aussies as well as a few Americans, Europeans and, of course, Kazuhiko Sofuku (JPN) to round out the Aussie crew.
The Aussie team painted their faces in traditional green and yellow, and wore green floppy hats and sporty (to say the least) green and yellow socks. The letters KA were on 71’s main and KZ on 98.
[Before the three-letter Olympic codes were adopted for the America's Cup in 1992, KA and KZ were the sail codes, respectively, for Australia and New Zealand, along with F (France), I (Italy), K (Great Britain), KC (Canada), and US (United States). A bygone era....]
A Wallabies battle flag flew from the KA boat as the crew docked out chanting “Stand up Australia.”
Captain of New Zealand side, Stu Clarke, arranged new team kit for his Kiwi colleagues -- black shorts, tank tops and, of course, broad-rimmed hats. According to Jane Eagleson, the BOB's senior correspondent Downunder, "It was quite a sight to see the guys coming down the ramp to the pontoon in the short-shorts and tanks!"
As for the results on the water, the Kiwi team won the first race, the Aussie team the second. The outcome of the third, Jane reports, was still being debated in the protest room Friday evening -- though one suspects more likely in a Viaduct-area bar over a few Fosters and Speights.
Australia Day regatta organizer Mark "Squark" Bradford.
A sartorially resplendent Nick Patridge -- also batting, obviously, for the Aussie team.
The Kiwi team led down the ramp by Ian "Box" Baker. Hope our friends at Henri Lloyd don't get any ideas from this kit.
Team KZ doing the traditional Haka
before docking out. Little did they know Team KA were preparing to hose them down from across the dock. Photo: JB Braun (USA, design team) on his new Nokia 6234 phone cam (2 megapixels).
"Team KZ" docking out for the Aussie Day regatta. The "All Carbons"?
"Team KA" defending the flag with some help from the seppos, wogs, and a few others from O.S. (and if you need help with those Aussie expressions, try Google). Photo: Captain Craig Christensen.
, carrying the old-style sail code KA-6, winning race 7 and with it the 1983 Cup -- ending NYYC's 132-year winning streak, and signaling the start of the modern America' Cup era. Photo© Daniel Forster
Happy Australia Day to all our Aussie teammates and friends.