#AmericasCup - It only took one more race for Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand to seal the deal and clinch the Auld Mug in the 35th America’s Cup match in Bermuda yesterday (Monday 26 June).
Race nine, the first of two scheduled for yesterday afternoon, saw another dominant performance to match the two comfortable wins join Sunday that put the Kiwi team at match point, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Both teams enjoyed clean starts off the line when racing resumed in the Great Sound of Bermuda, with Oracle Team USA — who defeated their Kiwi rivals in a surprise turnaround for the 34th America’s Cup in 2013 — edging ahead before losing ground on the run to the second mark.
By the third, the New Zealand yacht, with Burling at the helm, had already extended its lead to 26 seconds, and with a further six seconds of buffer added at the fourth, it was all she wrote.
Burling and crew, who went in as underdogs, now bring the America’s Cup back to New Zealand for the first time since 2000.
“I’ve grown up watching this competition as a fan and to be a Kiwi and taking this cup home is a dream come true,” said the young helmsman after the race.
“To be able to win this event at such a young age is an unreal feeling. However, I’m just a tiny part of a massive team and it is incredible to be able to reward the hard work of those hundreds of people who have supported us, not only here but back home in New Zealand as well.”
Team chief executive Grant Dalton credited their push for better design since 2013 as one of their keys to victory.
“One of the things to come out of San Francisco is that we were out-designed and we knew this time round that we had to push that area,” he said.
“This time round we had no restrictions on design. We just wanted to see what we could come up with and we have achieved some truly amazing things that have been revolutionary in this sport.”
Dalton added: “After San Francisco we had a pretty tough debrief and came up with 20 points that we had to change. One of those was that we had to invest in technology and the people that provide it.
“We also had to get our arms around the next generation of yachtsmen that were coming through and Peter [Burling] was one of those.”
The title is a major get at this early stage for 26-year-old Burling, who won the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup trophy at the last match in San Francisco.
What’s next for the new America’s Cup champions? A new challenge from an old foe in Luna Rossa Challenge, representing Circolo della Vela Sicilia in northern Sicily, the Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup.
Luna Rossa Challenge tussled with the Kiwis in the 30th America’s Cup match in 2000 and more recently in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup final, coming up short on both occasions, so the Italians will have much to prove come 2021.