WEDNESDAY, MAY 30: For some New Zealanders Rainbow II’s victory in the One Ton Cup was bigger than man landing on the moon for the first time.
The yacht and her crew led by Chris Bouzaid shook the world of sailing when they claimed the title in 1969 and propelled New Zealand to the forefront of international competition.
And their sailing exploits in the event, which was devised as an everyman’s America’s Cup, also prompted the book ‘Go Rainbow Go’.
Bouzaid had the yacht specially built from New Zealand pine in the late 1960s specifically to win the One Ton Cup.
But in 1968 Rainbow II finished second in the competition behind the German yacht Optimist.
But the very next year Bouzaid and Rainbow II were back in the cold, choppy waters of the North Sea to do battle with Optimist again.
This time they came out on top winning four successive races.
Sailing commentators have said that Rainbow II’s triumph ushered in a new and exciting era for New Zealand sailing.
While Bouzaid was praised for his immaculate planning in capturing the title and quickly became a household name and a role model for young aspiring sailors in his home country.