• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

America’s Cup

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For well over a week now, we have been sitting on the edge of our seats watching the nip and tuck of the incredibly exciting America’s Cup challenge taking place in San Francisco Bay at the moment. At this point, the scores are level pegging at 8 points apiece. Will the America’s Cup stay in America with Oracle Team USA, or will it travel across the Pacific and return with Emirates Team New Zealand – holders of course some years ago.

The atmosphere must be nothing short of electric at the moment – with Oracle Team USA clawing back their points in the most spectacular fashion – unless Mother Nature plays another card, by tomorrow we should know the result.

The Viaduct Basin in Auckland harbour was built to host the America’s cup last time it went down under and this proved to kick-start the regeneration of Auckland as the gateway to New Zealand. The city has always been known as the ‘City of Sails’ and the vibrant and buzy Viaduct Basin is very definitely the place to be. If you fancy your chances as an America’s Cup sailor, you have the opportunity to test your skills on an ex- America’s Cup yacht, based in the Viaduct Basin on either a straightforward sailing trip, or in a match race situation. Even for a total non-seafaring amateur like me, this was great fun. I don’t even remember having time to feel sick, and watching the crews battling for supremacy in San Francisco Bay at the moment, I am transported back to the exhilaration of that day on the Hauraki Gulf – to say nothing of the sore hands I was then sporting from the continuous grinding required!

Sailing is definitely not my sport, but I am game for a go at most things and I certainly do not regret taking the opportunity when it presented itself. I returned to New Zealand with my husband soon after and booked him onto a match racing trip – to say he enjoyed it is an understatement.

New Zealand is a beautiful place and if you have yet to discover this gem of a country, maybe 2014 is the time to go. Although the flight time is agonisingly long, the prize for sitting out that long flight is a stunning country approximately the size of the UK, but with barely 4 million people to our 60+ million. This means empty roads, no motorways (or at least very few), small towns of genuinely warm and welcoming people and scenery that is literally jaw-droppingly (is that a word?) beautiful. Stop at a local dairy for a hot pie and a milk shake for lunch, and don’t leave without at least one New Zealand roast lamb dinner. With far more sheep that people, lamb is usually on the menu.

Back to San Francisco for a moment and one cannot help but be in awe of the design of the yachts used this year. The size and speed of these vessels – to say nothing of the incredibly narrow fins on which they sail – how do they stay up their? And how on earth do they manoeuvre around the course, missing each other on occasions seemingly by a whisker.

So, if either New Zealand or the USA appeal – you know what to do. Pick up the phone and call us – 01323 446550, visit our website at www.experienceholidays.co.uk or email us on info@experienceholidays.co.uk.



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