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What Happened To Saturday?

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 21, 1999 - A Special Delegation of AmericaOne supporters is visiting Auckland on a weeklong tour to learn first hand what it takes to win the America's Cup. The group includes sponsors, media contacts and committed followers. Freelance adventure sports journalist Peter Henig is traveling with the group. He is also a technology and business editor for the Red Herring magazine and online service based out of San Francisco and will post daily reports from Auckland.

Kiwiland Update - February 21, 1999

It's not often you can go to sleep on a Friday, wake up on a Sunday, miss an entire Saturday, and not blame it on alcohol.

But that's exactly what happened when we embarked on one of the more glorious jaunts into the America's Cup sailing scene; a full week in Kiwiland.

Leaving LAX at 9:10 pm Friday evening, on a flight cruising straight through the International Date Line, there were two things readily apparent. First, unlike most airlines, Air New Zealand has an economy class that's actually pleasant; which is a pretty big deal when you've got your butt planted in it for a good 14 hours.

Second, sailing, water, and the Cup are a big deal to the Kiwis; and that's not just stating the obvious. The amount of pride the New Zealanders take in owning the America's Cup has reached a nationalistic fervor. You can't even step foot off the plane without finding evidence of it somewhere. From the in-flight magazines to the tourist infomercials, "New Zealand: Home of the America's Cup" is literally all over the place.

"They're really into it over here," says Lisa Meyers, a 17-year old student from the Bay of Islands, NZ, who herself has been sailing the world for seven years, and was on her way back to New Zealand to finish her studies. "If you even question anybody about sailing, all they'll say is...'Well, we've got the Cup!'"

Although such national awareness and passion stand in unique comparison to the spotty knowledge many Americans have about sailing's grandest prize -- even though the Cup resided in the States for more than a few decades -- on the bright side, it still represents a significant step forward in promotion and appreciation for the sport of sailing.

In fact, so proud were the Kiwis of their win in the 1995 America's Cup -- which some have said was one of the biggest things to have ever happened to the country -- that they took their highly contentious "Big Boat" that failed in its 1988 campaign to dislodge the Cup and mounted it squarely up on the wharf, near the center of Auckland, for all to see.

Now that's pride...but I still can't figure out what happened to Saturday!

Peter Henig
Online Investment Editor
The Red Herring Online

AmericaOne is dedicated to recapturing the America’s Cup by applying U.S. technology in computer equipment, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, sail design, naval architecture and structural engineering to America's Cup sailboat design. Technology partners include Hewlett-Packard Company, Bellcore/SAIC and Ford Motor Company/Visteon. The AmericaOne team is comprised of 43 professionals, including 30 members of the design team actively working on the research and design of its sailboats. Operating since June 1, 1996, AmericaOne is the challenger on behalf of San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club.

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