Page 3: The America’s Cup
Blake, Peter James
This biography, written by Stephanie Gibson, was first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in 2010.
The America’s Cup, the world’s premier yachting trophy, absorbed much of Blake’s energies in the 1990s. He was brought in near the end of Michael Fay's New Zealand challenge for the America's Cup of 1992. The campaign was unsuccessful but inspired Blake to establish Team New Zealand in 1992. He led two successful America's Cup campaigns as syndicate head, winning the Cup in San Diego in 1995 and defending it in 2000 in Auckland (the first non-American team to do so).
As well as leading the 1995 campaign, Blake joined the crew on board. A personal gift of red socks from his wife Pippa also became a national talisman. The only race not won by NZL 32 (Black Magic) was popularly believed to be because Blake was not on board in his red socks. For the 2000 regatta, Blake's vision and determination for an America's Cup village of yachts and superyachts resulted in the development of Viaduct Basin on the edge of Auckland Harbour.
Awards and honours
Blake was made an MBE in 1983 and an OBE in 1991. He was knighted in 1995 for services to yachting. He received many other awards and accolades throughout this period, including New Zealand Yachtsman of the Year in 1982 and 1990. Later he was awarded World Sailor of the Year in 1994. Blake was New Zealand Sportsman of the Year in 1990, and again with Team New Zealand in 1995. He received honorary doctorates from Massey University in 1999 and Auckland University of Technology in 2000.