Sailing from Australia
My first Australian went sailing on the York River with his wife’s family. Sean Ironmonger said that one of the stereotypes is that Americans asked if he knew the late Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. “They can’t believe I never met him, so sometimes I just say, ‘Aye, we drink at the pub now and then.’”
Is there much competition between Australia and New Zealand? “In cricket and soccer, yes there is. Otherwise we get along, like the United States does with Canada. But if you detect a British accent and want to ask which country they’re from, always ask if they’re from New Zealand. If they are, they’re very proud. If they’re from Australia, they’ll simply correct you because we don’t care one way or the other about New Zealand. They’re more touchy than we are.”
On the all-important issue of sailing, Sean said, “We won the America’s Cup in 1983.” He was gracious enough to avoid mentioning it was the first time the U.S. had lost since the race started in 1851. We’re still touchy about that.