Notwithstanding that she was not designed as an out-and-out Admiral's Cupper, Gerontius created something of a minor controversy when she was selected for the New Zealand team for the 1975 Admiral’s Cup. Showing surprising speed upwind in light airs, she finished the trials in third place, behind two S&S designs, the 42 footer Barnacle Bill and the 45 footer Inca, with a clear edge over the highly fancied S&S designed 50 footer Corinthian.
|Gerontius during the New Zealand 1975 Admiral's Cup trials (photo Sea Spray)|
It had not been expected that the unusual looking and homegrown design would be competitive, and after it became clear after the first three races that she was clearly in the running, her competitors aboard the S&S designs lodged a joint protest over her IOR measurement certificate. This was dismissed, although it clearly rattled the Gerontius crew who suffered from poor starts in the next few races. But she ultimately prevailed and was duly selected to be part of the New Zealand team for its first attempt to win the coveted trophy, regarded as the unofficial world championship of offshore sailing.
|Gerontius claws her way round Flat Rock (off Kawau Island) in the second trials race in which she finished second to Barnacle Bill on corrected time (photo Sea Spray)|
|Gerontius in tight reaching conditions during the 1975 Admiral's Cup (photo Jonathan Eastland)|
|Gerontius seen here in Cowes during the 1975 Admiral's Cup|
She went on to race in the inaugural 1978 Clipper Cup, as part of the New Zealand 'A' team alongside the Farr One Tonner Country Boy and a newer fractional rigged Farr 42, Monique, and revelled in Hawaii's reliable breezes. NZ A led the series by just two points going into the last race (the 800 mile Around the State), but were overtaken by a strong Australian effort in the finale, and finished second overall (the NZ B team finished third, thanks to a second place by Inca in the final race).