Business learnings from the America’s Cup Regatta

I was commuting when I heard that Team NZ had overtaken the Italians in light wind winning Race 7, and were leading in Race 8 of the America’s Cup Regatta.  The Southern motorway was slow, perhaps even slower than the breeze on the Waitemata Harbour at the time.

Then a “disaster” was announced on the radio as Team NZ had come off their foils and Luna Rossa were sailing ahead, looking certain to win Race 8 and equalise the best of 13 series once again.  With Team NZ limping to the finish line 4 minutes behind Luna Rossa I dispiritedly entered the supermarket carpark for groceries.

Imagine my surprise on returning to my car to find that Team NZ had won Race 8 by almost 4 minutes while I was shopping… HOW?

It turns out that in the finicky conditions Luna Rossa had also fallen off their foils in a spot where there was little breeze and they could not get foiling again easily, which gave Team NZ a chance to power past them to win Race 8… potentially a turning point in this 2021 America’s Cup Regatta.

There are lessons here for business:

  • Treat every day like a new race – past performance does not guarantee the future
  • One mistake doesn’t mean it’s over – maintain your composure and continue forward
  • Stay the course and don’t give up – if you’re breathing there is still opportunity to win
  • Choose your sails carefully – match your strategy and tactics to the conditions
  • The best boat / idea / business model won’t necessarily win – preparation, skill, execution and persistence are all important
  • Mental toughness and pure doggedness are a key to success.

As Team NZ commented about the regatta after Race 8: “It is a marathon and not a sprint!”

And so is business.

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