AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The makeshift cafeteria was all but empty, and Dan Bernasconi, the design coordinator for Emirates Team New Zealand, was speaking quietly about being on the wrong end of one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.
“Everyone was pretty devastated for sure, just disbelief,” he said in February, referring to Team New Zealand’s improbable loss to Oracle Team U.S.A. in the 2013 America’s Cup. “But it’s not just losing the regatta. It’s everything that comes after it. Our world would have been a very different place if we had won. This edition of the America’s Cup would have looked very different.”
The Cup, which dates to 1851 and is still yachting’s most prestigious prize, remains the rare sporting event in which the winner truly takes all, choosing the venue, the format and many of the rules of the next race.
With an 8-1 lead in San Francisco in 2013, Team New Zealand needed to win just one more race to bring the next America’s Cup, along with all the economic and psychic benefits, back to Auckland. The teams would have been based a short walk from where Bernasconi was speaking.
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