Sailing – America’s Cup: New Zealand defends the Cup

The New Zealand team scored the first match point in the 36th America’s Cup off Auckland. In the tenth race, the Prada Pirelli Italians hardly had a chance and were defeated 3: 7 in the end.

From Gerhard Hofstädter | 5.44 a.m., March 17, 2021

The Emirates Team New Zealand celebrates © (c) AFP (GILLES MARTIN-RAGET)

The tension rose and rose, it was set for the great success of the New Zealanders when the race management decided to adjust the regatta course again to the wind conditions. It started late. And the Cup defenders from New Zealand left no doubt about their role as favorites.

A length could do that Keep Team Prada-Pirelli open with Jmmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni, it was an open match race. Made at the second turn The Italians made another small mistake, got too much into the bad downdraft of the leading boat – and the New Zealand was gone.

Photo © (c) AP (Andrew Cornaga)

The first races had already shown that once Peter Burling and his team were in front, there was no more chance for Luna Rossa. New Zealand consistently expanded its lead – up to 500 meters to the last gate. The cheers (“Stay tuned, continue …”) from Jimmy Spithill on board Luna Rossa were of no use anymore. They were able to keep the cup final open for ten races, but in the end were more prone to errors.

That the New Zealanders’ boat ended up doing that slightly faster design was the crucial difference. They did everything a little better, especially in the technology area. Luna Rossa couldn’t make a mistake during the final, which the Italians were forced to make over and over again. “We worked three years for it, the whole country was behind us. And so we can breathe happily”, said Peter Burling at the finish.

It was a great match race. I can only congratulate New Zealand, they did a great job. We may not have had enough luck. But we’ll be back

Francesco Bruni, Luna Rossa

What’s next?

The America’s Cup is by the way the oldest sports trophy. The “Auld Mug” has been sailed for 170 years, the first time before there were no cars, well before the first modern Olympic Games.

It was a big campaign. With a lot of passion with the Italian team. But hats off New Zealand.

Jimmy Spithill, Luna Rossa

All of New Zealand is now celebrating the cup. But it has not yet been decided how the cup will continue. A rumor has it that that Great Britain wants to be the first challenger to bring the venue to England, before the Isle of Wright, where the first cup was held 170 years ago. With Ineos and Jim Ratcliffe, the British would also have a financially strong sponsor for this project on board. New Zealand would have to agree to this, because the defending champion basically determines the venue.

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