Sir Michael Fay was the essential pioneer for New
Zealand's extraordinary America's Cup success. With
his involvement, leadership and support of many campaigns,
the Kiwis achieved victory in the remarkably short
time span of eight years. Right from the start, the
New Zealanders approached the Cup with an open mind
and had the confidence to try new things. "We
looked for ways to be bold and innovative, and that
side of the America's Cup really appealed to me,"
Sir Michael has stated.
Kiwi ingenuity covered a wide range of areas, including
using fiberglass in the construction of 12-meter boats
for the first time and the simple logic of having
two absolutely identical boats for practice and training
- something that had never been done before. Fay's
controversial challenge of 1998 with his "Big
Boat" exemplified the New Zealand no-holds-barred
push to win. Sir Michael is proud of the fact that
while it took Australia more than 20 years to win
the America's Cup, New Zealand took the title after
just 10 years in only its fourth regatta and then
successfully defended the Cup in 2000.