The Kiwis beat Italian contenders Luna Rossa 7-3 in the best-of-13 series
| 17 March 2021
Team New Zealand has retained the America’s Cup, after scoring the seventh point needed to lift the Auld Mug on home turf in Auckland in front of thousands of spectators.
It is the fourth time that New Zealand has won the trophy, which is the oldest in international sport and held every four years. Previous wins came in 1995, 2000 and 2017.
The Kiwis beat Italian contenders Luna Rossa 7-3 in the best-of-13 series.
Speaking to the media after the win, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern spoke of the nation’s pride.
“Team New Zealand has once again made us all so proud by retaining the America’s Cup as New Zealand’s cup,” Ardern said. “We want to see it all over again in 2023. The government has already agreed that the successful America’s Cup team will be supported to stay together while it plans its next defence of the Auld Mug.”
Tensions were high before the start of deciding Race 10, after Course A had to be changed due to a drop in wind to only 7-10 knots in the Hauraki Gulf resulting in two postponements and a 30-minute delay.
The final race proved typically tight between the two AC75 craft, who had been in exceptionally close competition throughout the series. New Zealand’s Te Rehutai crossed the finishing line aat 38kt, just 650m and 46 seconds ahead of Italy’s Luna Rossa.
After an exuberant Champagne-drenched celebration, an elated New Zealand team skipper Peter Burling said: “We have been getting messages from the Prime Minister to high school kids. It just means the world to us as a team. We have been learning all week, and today we really showed what this boat can do, and so to win on home waters is something our entire team is incredibly proud of.”
Italian skipper Francesco Bruni responded by thanking his teammates and supporters, adding: “It is not finished – and with all this experience in the team we will try again. Thank you Italia, grazie Italia.”
Ben Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK has already been confirmed by reports as the Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup, after months of speculation, although no official announcement has yet been made.
The Cup’s traditions dictate the defender accepts a “hip pocket” challenge from its preferred Challenger of Record as soon as the series ends.
The Challenger is responsible for setting the guidelines, location and type of boats for the following America’s Cup competition.
Swirling media reports claim Ineos are planning on taking a one-off “Deed of Gift” match around Isle of Wight in 2022, which would take the Cup back to its 1851 roots.
Famed sailing yacht builder McConaghy Boats has recently announced it is constructing a 63-foot powercat, the MC63p, for Team New Zealand America’s Cup CEO Grant Dalton. McConaghy has also released the design for its new Vortex pod racer, a one-person sailing rocket on foils that promises all the speed of America’s Cup-style racing, but in a relatively easy-to-use pod.