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Much has happened over the past two decades since - the successful defence in 2000, the break-up of the syndicate following the defection of Coutts, Brad Butterworth and the core of the sailing team, the subsequent rebuild and the heartbreak of Valencia and San Francisco.

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In 1995 all the stars aligned for Team New Zealand - they had an inspirational leader in Peter Blake, a rock-star crew led by Coutts and a savvy design team.

Team New Zealand vs Dennis Conner and Young America off San Diego.

Photo / David White Tomorrow marks the 20 years since that remarkable day when New Zealand clinched the America's Cup for the first time, spawning Peter Montgomery's famous line "the America's Cup is now New Zealand's Cup".

Kiwis sat glued to their television sets as Russell Coutts and Team New Zealand swept all before them in the challenger series, before Black Magic rocketed to ultimate glory over Dennis Conner, often cast as a dastardly figure, and his Stars and Stripes team.

Even back then the America's Cup had sometimes seemed in danger of being sunk by the controversy and antics of those who want to hold it by dubious schemes.

But the romance of the trophy remained, whatever perfidy and arrogance from the defenders, and, sometimes, challengers.By winning it New Zealand were transported from their narrow sporting stage to the great halls of worldly endeavour.It was only about 10 years before that an America's Cup challenge looked completely beyond New Zealand's reach financially, technically and experience-wise.But when Australia became the first nation to successfully challenge for the America's Cup in 1983, there was sudden belief we could do it as well.After all, tell any Kiwi Australia has done something and we'll immediately set about trying to outdo them. While they were well-beaten by Conner in 1987, they learnt a lot of lessons from the campaign, which were further extended upon in the 1992 challenge in San Diego.A lot of other things changed in those 10 years as well.

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