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Kiwi 'dinosaur' stands between TNZ, America's Cup

PUBLISHED: 10:05AM Tuesday August 27, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

At 54, Simon Daubney knows his time on the America's Cup stage is drawing to a close.

"I'm the last walking dinosaur, they say," he admits. "I'm near the end, but I hate the thought of watching someone else do it."

Over the next month, the Oracle Team USA trimmer.grinder can expect more than his share of unwanted attention, as he goes up against his Kiwi countrymen on Emirates Team New Zealand.

His patriotism and loyalty will be questioned, along with that of long-time allies like Russell Coutts and Murray Jones. By now, he should be used to it.

"This is my eighth America's Cup and I've seen a lot of change," Daubney says. "There have been three different types of boats and my favourite would be the one I won four Cups.

"But as far as just going for a sail and pure excitement, the AC45 and AC72 have been a breath of fresh air for a guy my age."

The high-speed cataramans are a far cry from the monohulls where Daubney cut his teeth at this level, but the the veteran has proved himself nothing, if not adaptable.

"I got lucky and sat next to the right guy at primary school," he reflects. "His dad belonged to the yacht club and was just getting his son into sailing, so my first memory was just going for a sail with that guy in his little sailing dingy.

"We ended up sailing together for the next 10 years, competing."

Once he moved into the keelboat classes, Daubney contested the Soling event at three Olympics and won eight world titles.

He was part ot Team New Zealand's winning America's Cup campaigns in 1995 and 2000, and then switched allegiances to Alinghi for victories in 2003 and 2007.

"The transiton from being an amateur to a professional, albeit a very lowly paid one, happened in the late 80s, in New Zealand certainly. There was no such thing as a professional sailor and then we did our first Cup - we got paid money and beer.

"That's one of the good thing about being in a team like this. There are a few of us that have been together for a long time and there have been a lot of moments, but I'm not going to give you any."

"What makes the Cup special it it's the pinnacle of the sport - you're working with the very, very best and that's fantastic to come into."

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