Fan basks in Team NZ glory

Keeping an eye: Derek Brown near Team New Zealand's catamaran

A Queenstowner who took in eight days’ racing at the America’s Cup says the yachts’ speeds seemed to be about twice what they appeared to be on TV.

Basking in the glow of Team New Zealand’s win this week, keen yachtie Derek Brown says he and wife Anna saw the entire challenger series finals against Sweden, plus some earlier round robin races, including the one where the Kiwi catamaran capsized.

The couple stayed at the Bermuda home of part-time Queenstowner John Buchanan, a partner in local winery Mount Edward.

Brown says they flew over on the spur of the moment, after an earlier invitation from Buchanan.

“When we were watching it we thought, ‘God, we’re mad if we don’t go’.

“You’re not going to go to Bermuda otherwise – it’s about as far [from Queenstown] as you can get.”

Beachside in Bermuda: John Buchanan, left, and Derek Brown

The Browns watched the races at various vantage points: the America’s Cup village, from a boat and an island owned by a friend of Buchanan.

“The Bermudians definitely wanted the Americans to win because they thought if they win they’ll have to race in Bermuda again,” Brown says.

The locals also had time to mix with crews from most of the non-Kiwi boats.

“When the NZers turned up about two months before it started, they were just so busy working on their boat they just had nothing to do with the locals.”

Brown believes the next America’s Cup, likely to be staged in Auckland, will still benefit Queenstown with a tourism boost.

That’s because crews are likely to be based in NZ for up to two years before the regatta, he says.

“They spend a lot of money, those guys.”