Please select your home edition
Edition
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - LEADERBOARD

America's Cup Hall of Fame: Highlights of 34 years of commentary - Peter Montgomery

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 9 Aug 06:02 BST 9 August 2020
Peter Montgomery interviews Peter Blake with Russell Coutts after the 1995 America's Cup win in San Diego. © Montgomery archives

Peter "PJ" Montgomery will be inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in March 2021.

He is just the third "chronicler" to be admitted to the esteemed Hall of Fame - normally the domain of multiple America's Cup winners, notable team principals, designers of multiple Cup winners or others with decades of America's Cup involvement.

Known universally as "The Voice of the America's Cup", Montgomery is from a sporting background - both as a competitor and then as a commentator of multiple sports including Test Match Rugby, Olympic Rowing and Olympic Athletics, as well as International, World and Olympic Sailing.

His association with Peter Blake opened up the broadcasting of trans-oceanic sailing. Blake and Montgomery took their radio audience into the Southern Ocean via the crackle of single sideband radio, and always with the opening line "how are you, where are you?"

The former school athletics champion can look at a situation through the twin lens of a competitive sportsman, as well as the more detached view of a commentator.

Internationally he is best known as a yachting commentator, but in New Zealand, Montgomery covers several codes including the privileged position of being sideline-eye for test match and national rugby matches.

PJ has the unique talent of being able to talk to the stars of all sporting codes with the awe of a 12-year-old, in language that can be understood by his famous little old lady with the blue-rinse hair from Riverton, and extract responses from sailing newbies to America's Cup champions that answered the unspoken questions in the minds of even hardened and expert sporting fans.

Key parts of the Montgomery commentary arsenal are his connections - his "men in the field" providing inside information, accessed via an invaluable black book of phone contacts; together with a lexicon of Montgomeryisms that can sum up any situation in less than a sentence.

A radio-man, Montgomery used the "live-cross" to handle breaking sailing news, using the best available technology - be it landline in the '70s to mobile phone a couple of decades later.

Montgomery began his live tack by tack, radio broadcasting career covering the 1970 OK Dinghy Worlds, and then the 1971 One Ton Cup. Both events stretched available technology to its maximum, in days where many homes still had party-lines and what is accepted now as standard communication technology was only glimpsed and used on Star Trek.

PJ attended his first America's Cup in 1980 and has delivered a live commentary of every America's Cup race involving a New Zealand boat from Race 1 of the 1986/87 Louis Vuitton Cup on October 5, 1986, when KZ-7 took on Heart of America. As well as commentating at the 1992 Louis Vuitton and America's Cups, Montgomery was the commentator in the movie "Wind", using 12 metre yachts that had participated in Cup racing in 1987 and starring Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey.

During that era, he anchored the live commentary of New Zealand's three America's Cup wins in 1995, 2000 and 2017, as well as the many heart-breakers in between.

Highlights of PJ's America's Cup career:

Image Gallery America's Cups 1987 to 2010

Related Articles

America's Cup: 12 mths of AC75 sailing reviewed
It has been 12 months since the AC75's started sailing - how has the class and event shaped up? It has been 12 months since the first AC75's started sailing - Emirates Team New Zealand in Auckland, and American Magic in Rhode Island. There's just three months to the first/third America's Cup World Cup Series. Posted today at 2:18 am
America's Cup Rialto: Taking on the white water
Defiant was the only AC75 sailing today, docking out just before noon heading for a seabreeze After yesterday's action on the Waitemata Harbour with Emirates Team New Zealand and American Magic sailing in a staged race, today was very tame by comparison. Defiant was the only AC75 sailing today, docking out just before noon Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Two AC75's race in Auckland
The two AC75's currently in Auckland met up on the Waitemata Harbour on Monday afternoon The two AC75's currently in Auckland met up on the Waitemata Harbour this afternoon for the first shoot-out of the 36th America's Cup. Fortuitously the two teams were both training on Course C. Updated with an amazing 19 minute video Posted on 21 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: AC75's dodge a bullet
Both AC75's were out sailing in Auckland on Thursday, sailing once again in fresh breezes offshore Both AC75's were out sailing in Auckland on Thursday, sailing once again in fresh breezes offshore breezes of 18-20kts, gusting 22kts. The next day, Auckland was hit by a surprise 70kt squall, which gusted to 55kts on Course C. Posted on 18 Sep
Baffling Youth America's Cup decision
Rugby deal raises questions over cancellations of Youth America's Cup and other events Leading sailing journalist, editor and winning America's Cup team manager, Alan Sefton comments on the recent rejection by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of the Youth America's Cup Posted on 17 Sep
America's Cup: Butterworth joins Challenger group
Brad Butterworth to be a contact figure and facilitate a direct communication flow with the hosts Four times America's Cup winner, Brad Butterworth, joins COR 36, Challenger of Record of the 36th America's Cup presented by PRADA, in the capacity of External and Institutional Relations Officer. Posted on 17 Sep
America's Cup: NZ vessels get new marina offer
Silo & Viaduct marinas offer new deal for NZ vessels and offer bond refund for visitor vessels The official marinas of the 36th America's Cup have tacked in response to a wind shift in superyacht visitation rules - opening 28 berths up to Kiwi vessels at standard rates, while offering overseas boats bond refunds. Posted on 16 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: AC75 gymnastics
American Magic's AC75 Defiant performed some spectacular gymnastics on Monday American Magic's AC75 Defiant performed spectacular leaps and nosedives on Monday - when training in winds well above the racing limit. She recovered from both incidents without capsizing despite the high-risk sailing in winds above the racing limits. Posted on 15 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Sept 14 - Waitemata Rodeo
One squall came through at 30kts gusting 33kts, catching both teams, luckily ETNZ was under tow One squall came through at 30kts gusting 33kts, which caught American Magic, and she wisely waited it out. But it was the lighter 25kt squalls that appeared to catch Defiant at twice - spectacularly losing control as her rudder ventilated. Posted on 15 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Sept 12 - The 4 o'clocker
Te Aihe could be seen sailing with what looked to be lighter air sails including Code Zeros. On Saturday, Emirates Team New Zealand left the dock at 1000hrs in a 15kts breeze, which eased during the day back to 10-12kts. Te Aihe could be seen sailing off Auckland's East Coast Bays with what looked to be lighter air sails including Code Zeros. Posted on 13 Sep