1995: NZ wins the America's Cup

The crew members of New Zealand's Black Magic celebrate as they cross the finish line in the...
The crew members of New Zealand's Black Magic celebrate as they cross the finish line in the waters off San Diego, capturing the America's Cup for the first time in the 144-year history of the event. Photo from AP.
New Zealand's defence of the America's Cup in 1999-2000 could revitalise the greatest prize in yachting.

"We should have a fantastic yachting regatta at the start of the new century," Team New Zealand chief Peter Blake said after his dominant 1995 campaign for the Auld Mug ended yesterday with a 5-nil win.

Dennis Conner, who lost the cup overseas for a second time said: "I'm guardedly optimistic we're entering a new dawn of the America's Cup. With the enthusiasm of the New Zealand people, I think they'll breathe some new fresh air into the America's Cup."

San Diego-based New Zealander Kingsley McLaren said New Zealand's participation in the cup had raised New Zealand's profile in the US and would boost tourism and exports.

San Diego (May 16). - After a rollicking all-night party, the only sound at the Team New Zealand compound in San Diego yesterday was the non-stop whirr of fax machines.

Since Sunday's triumphant end to their America's Cup yachting campaign, the team has been inundated with faxes from around the world.

Most of the messages have come from mainland New Zealand, but others have arrived from places as diverse as Uruguay, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Italy, Vanuatu, Australia and the Chatham Islands.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip yesterday publicly congratulated Team New Zealand.

"Prince Philip and I were delighted to learn of Black Magic's success in the America's Cup," she said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

"Please pass on our warm congratulations to Peter Blake, Russell Coutts and the crew."

Auckland (May 25). - As yachting hero Peter Blake said, it was a "most stupendous, fantastic, terrific, marvellous" welcome as Auckland hosted the biggest party in the country's history for New Zealand's America's Cup winners yesterday.

More than 300,000 people flocked to the central city to welcome home Team New Zealand and the "Auld Mug".

With parking restrictions in place by 5am, many had come by public transport or arrived early, filling up the city's car parking buildings well before 9am.

The anticipation, excitement and jubilation was not dampened by a late start to the parade as thousands of people, clutching paper flags and cardboard red socks, lined Queen St, climbed rooftops and bus shelters hours before the parade's scheduled 12.30pm start.

By 11am, the streets were already strewn with multi-coloured ticker tape, 300,000 rolls of which were brought in especially for the parade.

By the time the parade reached upper Queen St shortly before 1pm, and the first of the Team New Zealand crew came into view, the atmosphere had reached fever pitch.

The jubilation continued as Team NZ skipper Russell Coutts and Blake carried the Auld Mug up the stairs to the front of the Aotea Centre to the strains of the official Team New Zealand song.

The pair, flanked by Team New Zealand crew, stood in front of the crowd filling Aotea Square as Auckland soprano Fiona Ferens led the crowd singing the national anthem, followed by a Maori welcome from Sir Hugh Kawharu.

Auckland Mayor Les Mills thanked Team New Zealand on behalf of the rest of the country for bringing the cup to New Zealand.

Blake told the crowd "thank you very much for this most stupendous, fantastic, terrific, marvellous New Zealand welcome here today. We have never seen anything like it before".



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