Team New Zealand (TNZ) retained the America’s Cup on Wednesday, defeating Italian outfit Luna Rossa 7-3 in the best-of-13 series.
It’s the fourth time a New Zealand team has lifted the “Auld Mug,” international sport’s oldest trophy, whilst Italy still waits for its first triumph.
In front of thousands of spectators, TNZ simply dominated race 10 – securing a 46-second win in home waters – as it was crowned champion off the coast of Aukland.
“It’s unreal. Seeing all the people involved over three-four years, how many Kiwis out here supporting the campaign,” said TNZ helmsman Peter Burling.
“Messages from everyone, from the Prime Minister to high school kids, it means the world to us,” added Burling, referring to New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern.
“We’re blown away by what we’ve achieved as a group.”
The 36th America’s Cup was originally scheduled to take place between March 6-21, but the start was delayed until March 10 due to a Covid-19 lockdown in Auckland.
‘All you can do is tip your hat’
Ardern, who has been praised for her handling of the pandemic, was quick to congratulate TNZ on its victory.
“Team New Zealand has once again made us all so proud by retaining the America’s Cup as New Zealand’s cup,” Ardern said in a statement.
“We want to see it all over again in 2023.”
Since it was first held in 1851, off the coast of the Isle of Wight in England, the America’s Cup has always has been at the forefront of sailing technology. The race is held every four years.
Italy, which has now had a team lose in three finals, was simply outclassed by its opponents and the superior ‘Te Rehutai’ yacht.
“Obviously, pretty disappointed,” said Luna Rossa co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill.
“They did an incredible job, developed an incredible tool and package there. All you can do is tip your hat.”