NZL 60, BACK ON DISPLAY
NZL60 was New Zealand’s second America’s Cup winning boat. The legendary International America’s Cup Class (IACC) 82 footer continued the innovative reputation that Team New Zealand had firmly established with winning the 1995 America’s Cup in San Diego against the notorious Dennis Conner.
NZL60 may not have the name recognition of her 1995 predecessor NZL32 (Black Magic), but as the first boat in the history of the America’s Cup to successfully defend the Auld Mug outside of the United States of America, she deserves just as much attention and why Sir Stephen Tindall has subsequently looked after her, with the objective of putting the national treasure on display as it sits now for the benefit of the New Zealand public.
As Defender in the 30th Americas Cup in 2000, Team New Zealand did not sail in the Louis Vuitton Cup while the 11 Challengers fought it out in one of the most exhilarating and competitive challenger selection series ever. In the end, the popular Italian syndicate ‘Prada Challenge’ beat America One 5-4 in the best of 9 in the Louis Vuitton Cup final.
All the while Team New Zealand’s NZL60 and NZL57 had been pushing themselves equally hard in combat to battle harden themselves for what many believed was going to be a titanic battle for the America’s Cup with the Italians- the first time in history that an America’s Cup Match did not involve an American challenger or defender.
NZL60 began the match in the same way its predecessor NZL32 did 5 years earlier, by leading from the outset and going on to win the opening race by 1 minute and 17 seconds. 10 days later Team New Zealand were sitting comfortably with a 4-0 lead, only one point away from a historic defence- the first time ever that the America’s Cup would be defended outside the United States.
The 2000 America’s Cup had been a catalyst for the redevelopment and reinvigoration of Auckland’s tired and run down Viaduct basin. Transforming it from a rough fishing village to the waterfront hub of downtown Auckland city. In the eight years the America’s Cup was in residence at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron between 1995- 2003, a thriving boat building and services industry grew in New Zealand worth more than a billion dollars. A small country at the edge of the south-west Pacific Ocean became the holiday destination for millions.
Since its glory days in 2000, NZL60 was initially used as a trail horse in the early part of the 2003 Team New Zealand defence helping the team race and develop NZL81 and NZl82. After NZL82 lost to Alignhi (SUI64), NZL60 was chartered to K-Challenge, a French-German yacht racing team who went on to race in the 2007 America’s Cup as Areva Challenge.
Renamed FRA60, NZL60 rolled over Alinghi during the pre cup regattas in 2005, impressively bringing Alinghi’s string of 31 wins during the pre-regattas to an end. For K-Challenge their win over Alinghi topped off what had been a superb regatta, which started with a win over Team New Zealand. The fact that K-Challenge beat both Team New Zealand and Alinghi is ironic because a handful of sailors in both those teams sailed NZL60 to victory in the 2000 defence and she could still hold her own more than 5 years after winning the Cup.
2007 was the last official America’s Cup outing for IACC yachts, as the America’s Cup moved on to other classes. For a brief time, sailing fans were looking forward to seeing a new class, the giant AC90, in action but the 2010 Deed of Gift match steered the Cup in the direction of multihulls.
The retirement plan for most IACC yachts normally consists of being sold to a charter boat company, where tourists and sailing fans replace elite sailing crews and sail around harbours in calm conditions. However, Sir Stephen Tindall kept NZL60 in storage until the decision was made to return her to her former glory with the intention of putting her on display to join New Zealand’s other two winning America’s Cup Class yachts down in Auckland’s Viaduct.
"Black Magic is already on display inside the Maritime Museum, and in 2019, Emirates Team New Zealand’s winning AC50, “Aotearoa” was hung on the side of the team base as well. Finally, as of today, NZL60 takes her place, standing proud on her keel, between the two boats and looking just like she did when she crossed the line in 2000 when Peter Montgomery declared "The America's Cup is still New Zealand's cup!"
Yacht / Country:
New Zealand / NZL
Team New Zealand Ltd
Sir Peter Blake
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Tom Schnackenberg, Laurie Davidson, Clay Oliver, Mike Drummond