by Sir Peter Blake
“The America’s Cup is an elusive trophy, and has rarely changed hands in the last 150 years.This is not a sport for the faint hearted. It is not a quest to take lightly or on a whim. It is a fight between sailors from yacht clubs all over the world that desperately want the same thing: get their hands on the Cup.
The prestige for the winner has more value than any other sporting achievement. It’s winning the invincible and doing the impossible that attracts sailors, dreamers and millionaires, but the victory is not easy, and most of the time it doesn’t ever happen. The only way to win is to continuously participate, continuously return time and time again with the conviction that you can do it.
Hesitating after the first attempt is not part of the rules of the game.
You need extraordinary people with ferocious motivation, lots of experience and attention to details and unconditional dedication.
The game is uncertain; for all you can dedicate, for all that you can motivate, and for all that you are willing to spend the victory is never guaranteed.
For some it becomes a kind of drug.
It is a game that you can come to deeply hate, to then discover that you can’t live without it at least not until you win.
Then there’s the metamorphous (at least that is what happened to me). I was part of a crew that succeeded in winning the America’s Cup at least once and successfully defending it. I was finally free of the tightness in my mouth and in my stomach. I am paid. I am cured. I go to sleep at night and dream other dreams. New passions are being born inside of me. Just so that it is clear, competing for the America’s Cup is a game of passion, of dreams when in every waking moment (and while you are asleep) you have only one unique thought and that is winning but the victory is uncertain until you have it in your hands.
The delusion and the disappointment hurts even when the others are suffering, imagine trying it out on your own hide.
You keep asking yourself “how”? and “why”? For weeks until you find the determination to try again, to not repeat the same mistakes, to do it better than before, to be better that the rest of the world, to be the best and then the anxiety becomes dreams and passions all over again. The thought of winning never ever abandons you but it is better to leave it on the side and concentrate on a new objective: to be the best in every phase of the new challenge.
Nothing is left alone, not even the smallest detail. But this doesn’t happen just because you want it to. You need a Team of exceptional people who share the same dream and the same passion and are not scared even when the odds are against them.
It’s the difficulty of the challenge that puts the adrenalin in your veins that may have been weakened by the previous defeat.
The America’s Cup is what it is because it is so difficult to win.
It is not a game for armchair admirals.
It is not a game for the person who is not prepared to come back.
It is not a game for the faint hearted.
It is a game for those who are not scared of pitting themselves against the best that the world has to offer.
It’s a game where winning is almost impossible, almost, but not impossible.
And this is why it is worth fighting for. It is the difficulty that gives any challenge some sense.
This is the essence of life itself.
To all the people in Team Prada who are telling their story in this book, I would like to say, I admire your sportsmanship, your tenacity and your enthusiasm for life. You have given all of us a really positive image of your country and your countrymen will be very proud of you. This time you didn’t win but you certainly didn’t lose. You only lose when you don’t have the courage to return. Not winning is part of the learning process which leads you to success.
For the challenge in 2003 I wish you good luck. Because it is also a question of luck. It won’t be easy.
The best things never are.”