Auckland, NZ -- Although Mother Nature didn't permit racing today on New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf, 13-year-old Nick Dana probably had the ride of
his lifetime. Strong winds from the southwest kicked in this afternoon creating conditions that were outside the racing parameters, which resulted in a postponement for all three races.
But Dana, a
resident of Middletown, Rhode Island, proudly rode as Stars & Stripes' 17th man in the rain squalls, 30+ knots of breeze and seas that reached the 3 meter mark. Most people who don't normally race
on 80-foot America's Cup yachts, and maybe even those who do, might have been a bit frightened by the wind and waves, but not Dana. "It was fun," he said with a grin. "It was a
funny ride, we just talked the whole time."
Nick and his parents, Charlie and Posy Dana, who are in Auckland for the Semi-Final Series of the Louis Vuitton Cup, have been long time friends with
Dennis Conner. When Dennis found out that Nick was free today, he invited the teenager to come along for the race. "I know a couple of the guys on the boat, Kenny Read and Mick Harvey, and
I've know Dennis since I was born - so it was fun hanging out with them," he said amiably.
Most young sailors dream of one day sailing in the America's Cup, but this young man may have an extra edge
now from his experience today. "I've been sailing since I was 2-weeks-old when my parents took me on a cruise to Nova Scotia. Now I race 470's and do classic regattas with my family on our 70-foot
ketch, Saint Roque." When asked about someday racing in the America's Cup, Dana can only smile. "I would love to."
Because of today's weather-related postponement, Stars & Stripes
is scheduled to race the French syndicate, Le defi Francais, tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. New Zealand Time.
Standings as of January 4, 2000:
Stars & Stripes (2 points)
AmericaOne (1 point)
America True (1 point)
Nippon Challenge (1 point)
Prada Challenge (1 point)
Le defi Francais (0 points)
For more information contact:
Team Dennis Conner
Sailing Compound: 64-09-9799-700