Kiwis struggle to watch as Oracle take two wins

Last updated 11:12 23/09/2013
34th America's Cup
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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison holds the America's Cup trophy aloft.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
A fan at Auckland's Shed 10 battles to watch the final America's Cup race.

Shed 10 fans left gutted

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NERVOUS TIMES: Fans gathered in Auckland's Downtown water front Shed 10 struggle to watch the America's Cup race 14 unfold.

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Talk about suspense.

On social media and on the Auckland waterfront, Kiwis were feeling sick to their stomachs and left twisting in their seats after watching Team New Zealand lose two more races to Oracle this morning.

"It was horrible to watch," said yachtie Jason Hendy, watching from the sponsor's bench at Shed 10 on the waterfront. Fans there began leaving before the second race had even finished, with most saying they had to get back to work.

"As Chick in Armageddon said, this is turning into a surrealistic nightmare'," tweeted MJK from Canterbury, summing up the feelings of the many bleary-eyed Kiwis who who had risen early to watch the race but seen their faith in Team NZ go unrewarded.

On social media, Jonathan Bell of Christchurch tweeted: "Ultimate Choke 2013. Ya know, I called this days ago. Now NZers realise Oracle has kicked up a gear and look unbeatable."

Nick Butcher, also of Christchurch, tweeted: "Cheer up kiwis! You can beat them tomorrow. Just, you know, DO beat them tomorrow :-)"

And Stephen King of Invercargill asked: "More agony for Team NZ as Oracle wins again. Are the wheels falling off ? Exhausted design upgrades?"

But worried fans shouldn't let their fears get in the way of reality, clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo said.

"We are still just one race away from victory. Oracle are four. The maths are in our favour," she said.

"People are just venting and expressing their fears. The team won't be thinking like that in San Francisco.

"Don't think (Team New Zealand) haven't prepared for this. As professional sportsmen they will have prepared for being put under pressure.

"They will know what to do to maintain their nerve."

While the sailors would be focused on roles and routines, Team New Zealand might look to deploy some strategies to regain the psychological momentum, Nimmo said.

And not everyone at Shed 10 was giving up hope or was in agony over the not-quite-there-yet scoreboard.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said he'd got to the point where he was "quite philosophical" about the loss.

"It's a long game," he said.

While Shed 10 had emptied out after the first race, Brown predicted that if Team NZ got in front in the next one, people would come pouring back in.

"You watch," he said.

"If we get ahead it will go mad."

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Mayoral candidate John Palino was there watching and said he still had faith.

"We've got to bring it home," he said.

In Wellington, fans packed into Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club today to watch the racing, but here too, many started to leave before the second race had finished, such was Oracle's lead.

Club commodore Geoff Herd said he was now starting to get nervous about whether Team New Zealand could win the cup.

"I just want the boys to bring one race home," he said.

"It feel like it's going to drag."

Despite the nerves he did remain optimistic: "We just need a couple of things to go our way."

An upside from the long regatta was that many many people had signed up for courses with the club, Herd said.

"It's bringing people of Wellington down to see their harbour."

Shirley Martin, who has watched every race from the club, said: "People just need to keep the faith in the New Zealand team."

Tania Loughlin maintained her belief New Zealand would win the cup despite a double loss today.

"We are nearly there, I believe in Team New Zealand," she said.

"We are not giving up, we are hanging in there. I just hope we take it home tomorrow."

- Fairfax Media

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