The tide was never likely to turn, yet ex-pat Kiwi sailors willingly subjected themselves America's Cup-style water torture inside the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia as the sun rose - and hopes sank - in Sydney.
About 80 yachting enthusiasts congregated at the home base of the Sydney to Hobart blue water classic to watch Oracle complete a remarkable turnaround and again leave Team New Zealand in its wake on San Francisco Bay to maintain the United States' ownership of the Auld Mug.
Although James Spithill piloted Oracle to victory, Australians did not clamour aboard the bandwagon and bask in the reflected glory of their fellow Sydneysider.
Instead, there were signs of Anzac solidarity - the same friendly undercurrent evident off the coast of San Diego in 1995 when Black Magic's crew sympathised after John Bertrand's OneAustralia split in two and sank during the challenger series.
Dean Barker's demise was not as dramatic today as the Cup's 34th regatta sped to its inevitable conclusion - a soul-destroying defeat that still garnered plenty of praise from CYCA members.
"Spithill's done a great job. He's certainly a very fine yachtsman but as the reports say, he obviously had the faster boat," said CYCA Commodore Howard Piggott.
"He had the advantages and he put that team together. A lot of sympathy goes out to New Zealand because the weather Gods were against them.
"You almost had the damn thing won," he said, referring to a race called off because it would not finish within the allocated time limit.
The Kiwis were leading and on course to win the series 9-1; ultimately they lost 9-8, succumbing to one of sport's greatest comebacks.
"We watched with some agony as they were made to battle every inch of the way," Piggott told Fairfax Media.
Across town at the Hilton Hotel, where members of the history-making Australia II were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their success off Newport, Rhode Island, Team New Zealand's failure did not enhance the occasion.
Bertrand, Australia II's financier Alan Bond and then Prime Minster Bob Hawke preferred to revisit one of the country's finest sporting moments.
Bond briefly noted the Australian presence in both syndicates - an arrangement that concerned one old salt.
Australian II tactician Hugh Treharne said it was unfortunate the Australians were competing under a flag of convenience and not a home-grown syndicate.
"How can you waste talent like that? You've got to scoop them all up," he said, hoping Australia would challenge for the Cup for the first time since 2000 when Oracle organise their next defence.
He said the syndicates should also be made up of single nationalities - not a multi-national operation like Oracle that included crew from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Holland, France, Italy, Canada and Antigua.
"In future they're going to make sure they're all (the same nationality) on each boat. That's magnificent, that's the way it should have been." he said.
Piggott said considering the costs involved in challenging for sport's oldest trophy, it was impressive that New Zealand even managed to compete against Larry Ellison's billions.
"New Zealand did a great job to be there, Australia would have great difficulty mounting a challenge unless we can encourage some of our very wealthy people to so engage," he said.
Reminded maverick mining magnate Clive Palmer was building a replica of the Titanic so obviously had nautical interests, Piggott steered clear of that potential iceberg with a nervous laugh.
- © Fairfax NZ News