Could it be ... we're choking?

02:18, Sep 23 2013
Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
Team New Zealand fans at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington look disappointed as Race 13 is abandoned.
America's Cup
John Hebberd and Dawn Carter check the time during the first attempt at Race 13, which was abandoned, at the Tasman Bay Cruising Club.
America's Cup
Spectators react as the race is abandoned with Team NZ comfortably leading.
America's Cup
Two Team New Zealand supporters react during Race 13.
America's Cup
Disappointment is obvious on the faces of Team NZ fans as the first attempt at Race 13 is called off.
America's Cup
Ella, 11 and Matt Wood, wait at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington on Sunday the for the delayed start to race 14 of the America's Cup.
America's Cup
Ben Amor watches Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 14 of the 34th America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
America's Cup
Tina Norris, left, and Cheryl barber watch Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 14 of the 34th America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
America's Cup
Tania Loughlin watches Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 14 of the 34th America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
America's Cup
In New Plymouth, Joanne Pierce and Kevin Kerr anxiously watch this morning's racing.
America's Cup
In Hamilton, Waikato University students Alyce Michell, left, and Rachel van Rossen watch today's races.
America's Cup
In Christchurch, Naval Point Yacht Club members watch the yachting. John Cullens, left, Neil McKellar and Rob Angelo
America's Cup
In Christchurch, Naval Point Yacht Club members watch the yachting. John Cullens, left, Neil McKellar and Rob Angelo
America's Cup
It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
America's Cup
It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
America's Cup
It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
America's Cup
It's all too much for this fan at Auckland's Shed 10.
America's Cup
It was nail-biting stuff during races 14 and 15 for these fans at Auckland's Shed 10.
America's Cup
Tension was high for fans, like this one at Auckland's Shed 10, during races 14 and 15.
America's Cup
Brenda Herd, at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, watches Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
America's Cup
Mike West, left, and Dave Roberts, at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, watching Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
America's Cup
Jeremy Johnson, at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, watching Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
America's Cup
Toyota NZ employees watch Oracle beat team New Zealand in race 16 of the 34th America's Cup.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 watch in disbelief as Oracle beat Team New Zealand in race 16 of the America's Cup off San Francisco.
Team NZ fans
The tension shows on faces of the fans at Shed 10 as race 17 starts disastrously for Team NZ.
America's Cup fans
Nothing for it but to hide behind a flag as a disastrous start effectively ends Team NZ's hopes in race 17.
Team NZ fan
It really is this excruciating. A fan grimaces at Naval Point Yacht Club in Lyttelton as Oracle wins race 17.
Team NZ fans
Why do we put our children through this? Twins Flynn and Ari Menzies, 5, hang their heads at Port Nicholson yacht club in Wellington as Oracle take race 17.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
The body language says it all. John Cullens and Willie Newman look disappointed as Oracle take race 18.
AC1
HIGH TENSION: Katie Hakes hopes for the best at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club on Wednesday.
AC nicci
Nicci Wood watches on nervously at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
A disappointed Wellington City Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer watching race 18 of the Americas Cup at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, Wellington.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Bundle of nerves. Nicci Wood watching race 18 at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, Wellington.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Let's hope she's good luck. Lucinda Howard, 2, sits with a replica America's Cup.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Initital excitement shows as Dave Roberts, John Hunt and Nicci Wood watch team NZ lead at the start of race 18.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
A truckie shows his support for Team New Zealand.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Fans at Auckland's Shed 10 do a haka ahead of the final America's Cup race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Oracle fans at Auckland's Shed 10 ahead of the final America's Cup race.
AC nicci
Anna Sisley, middle, and Brenda Herd, right, watch the final race of the America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
Paddy Lewis at Christchurch's Naval Point Yacht Club watches the final race of the America's Cup.
AC nicci
Anndy Crisp watches the final race of the America's Cup at Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
America's Cup fans
Naval Point Yacht Club in Christchurch make a toast to the America's Cup after the final race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
A fan at Auckland's Shed 10 battles to watch the final America's Cup race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Samantha Dalzell-Matthew at Auckland's Shed 10 battles to watch the final America's Cup race.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Neeraj Lala (Toyota NZ head of marketing) watching and reacting to the America's Cup final race at the Toyota NZ headquarters in Palmerston North.
Team NZ fans watch America's Cup
Auckland mayor at Auckland's Shed 10 Len Brown applauds after the final America's Cup race.

Talk about suspense.

On social media and on the Auckland waterfront, Kiwis were feeling sick to their stomach 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 feeling of the many bleary-eyed Kiwis who who have 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."

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."

Advertisement

Stuff