Emerald kid Joe Newton sails to America's Cup victory

EMERALD boy Joe Newton has sailed from the Fairbairn Dam into the history books after clinching yachting's holy grail, the America's Cup.

Joe was part of Oracle Team USA, which pulled off one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time to win eight races in a row and break the hearts of Emirates Team New Zealand.

Slicing through the water off San Francisco in a 22m high-tech catamaran, Joe and team Oracle reached speeds of more than 80kmh.

The turning point was when the USA crew played its last postponement card which gave them a 47-hour timeout.

"We were a long way in the hole in the series; we were 8-1 down and for perspective we had twice as many races to win as Australia II did in 1983," Joe said.

"The foiling upwind that we finally managed to master, which we were practising on our days off until we finally just nailed it, was key.

"We managed to reach the tipping point where we had sailed enough and made enough subtle little changes to make the boat easier to do that with, and that was the turning point in the regatta and they just couldn't match the speed the boat could do any more."

The $50 million AC72s is a world apart from the little wooden boat Joe used to sail when he was 10.

 

"It was Fairbairn Dam where I did my first sailing on my own," Joe said.

 

"I used to have a little boat they call a Sabot which I used to sail on Fairbairn Dam when I was a young guy.

"I used to do heaps of sailing on Fairbairn Dam on my Saturdays."

Marty Watson from Yeppoon used to be Joe's instructor.

"I think the whole of the Central Queensland sailing community is buoyed by his success," Marty said.

Joe is on his way back with his wife Sally and two children to their Central North Coast home.

"We are going to head back there and lie on the beach for a while, go surfing and have a few beers," he said.

But considering Australian billionaire Bob Oatley had his challenge to contest the America's Cup under the Hamilton Island Yacht Club banner accepted, how long will Joe's holiday be?

Australia has not competed in the America's Cup since 2000 when Joe and triumphant Oracle skipper James Spithill crewed the Young Australia.

Will the four Australian Oracle team members jump ships and sail for Australia?

"The temptation is always there and we would love to sail for our country, obviously, but the America's Cup is made up of international sailors and teams so we will just have to see how the chips end up falling," Joe said.


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