150 Stories #2: Defining moments of the Commodore 1995 – 1997

Past Commodore Peter Hay, interviewed by Glenda Moore

How were we to select the Racing Team to sail under the Flag of the RNZYS in San Diego?

Members were enormously divided between the two key players….Peter Blake and Chris Dickson.

The eventual decision was to go with Peter Blake for Team NZ.

There were many anxious souls watching the first race between Chris, sponsored by Tag Heur, and Peter, Team NZ. Team NZ won. RNZYS had made the right decision.

A fax received from Chris and Tag Heur said: “Well done Team NZ, but we will be back!” 

“Yes, way back” a Squadron stalwart replied.

When “One Australia” sank, Team NZ rescued everyone and then worried as “One Australia” had to then use their second boat for racing and NZ did not know what modifications had been made to it.  Obviously nothing too outstanding as Team NZ won the race.

No team had yet raced against the Defender, “Young America” (Dennis Connor), and there was great uncertainty as to how well would do. Well we did better!

Rogue Challenges followed Team New Zealand’s win and Peter Hay, Allan Sefton, and Bob James (Vice Commodore New York Yacht Club) all had to hide so no one could get to them with a Rogue Challenge. Team NZ and the support boat were told that if anything was thrown onto the boat they were to throw it immediately into the water in case it was a Rogue Challenge.

The morning after winning the Americas Cup, Jan and Peter woke to find the hotel totally surrounded by reporters, photographers and flashing lights….. They said it was a bit like being Harry and Megan.

Bringing the Cup home to New Zealand was wonderful but the police had been advised that someone had intentions of stealing the Cup, so the Cup was hot- wired to an alarm to alert of any skulduggery. Squadron also had people sleeping in the building alongside the Cup.

In 1996, when Jan Hay heard the news that the Cup had been vandalised inside the RNZYS, she rang Peter and said, “Do you want the good news or the bad news?”

Peter said – “What is the bad news?” 

Jan replied – “The cup has been smashed”

“Well what is the good news?” Peter asked. 

 “You are not the Commodore anymore!” was her reply.

We’re creating a living history of club stories for our members – and future generations – to commemorate turning 150 next year!

You can contribute a story on anything, perhaps a memorable race you competed in , a party or event attended, or a historical moment you witnessed, we would like to hear from you!

We hope you’ll get involved through contributing a story to help us continue our great legacy.

For more information or to submit your story, contact: mkhan@rnzys.org.nz 

Recent Posts