New Zealand defends 36th America’s Cup

Published on March 16th, 2021

Auckland, New Zealand (March 17, 2021) – With Emirates Team New Zealand on match-point to defend the America’s Cup, they entered today needing only one victory among the four remaining races to keep the Auld Mug. Easy, right?

Depends on who you ask, but it’s a whole lot easier to win one race rather than all four which Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team needed to bring the trophy home to Italy for the first time.

In their ninth campaign, the Kiwi team would like nothing more than to etch their name on the trophy for the fourth time, for both the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron they represent and the 5 million New Zealand citizens that weathered the COVID-19 storm for the 36th Match to be held.

As for the landscape of the day, the forecast was for it to possibly be the last day of a light wind weather pattern with 7-9 knots from the NNE anticipated, and due to the abandonment yesterday of Race 10, the Italians were to have port entry in both races.

However, the wind found 10 to 12 knots, and the Kiwis would only need the first race to seal the deal. More so, they did it convincingly. Once again, the fastest boat won the America’s Cup.

Race 10 – ITA (port entry) vs NZL
A 30 minute postponement was needed for the breeze to settle in, but it was worth the wait for what would prove to be the final race of the 36th America’s Cup.

The comms off the Italian boat indicated they wanted the right side of the start line, so it was up to them to execute that plan. As they led the defender on port to the edge of the start box, they rolled into a gybe with the Kiwis following with a tack. The game began.

While New Zealand had not been strongest off the start, they saved their best for last, holding high and denying Italy the side they wanted. When bows even off the line, New Zealand had the right side they wanted and rolled immediately into a tack.

As Italy extended to the left side, the wind went right, and the spooky music began. While there were some close crosses up the first upwind leg, New Zealand was fully in charge to lead by 7 seconds at the first mark.

From this point on, the Kiwi lead was never in doubt as they extended on each leg, stretching out to 700m on the final downwind leg to win by 46 seconds.

After these two teams partnered to win the 2017 America’s Cup, with both involved in the development of the new AC75 Class Rule, they proved to have a jump on the field, but Italy couldn’t get a jump on New Zealand.

It was the way for New Zealand to complete their defense, demonstrating all the advancements they had made to performance, showcasing faster tacks and a better sense of how to sail their boat. When behind, they stayed close. When ahead, the beast got loose and didn’t look back.

America’s Cup Match Scoreboard (wins-losses)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 7-3
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA): 3-7

Advancing as the winner of the PRADA Cup, the Italian challenger faced the Kiwi defense in the best of 13 series. After the postponement due to government COVID-19 health regulations, the 36th America’s Cup Match racing schedule had two races per day planned for March 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and each day after that until the first team had won seven races.

More information:
• America’s Cup format, standings, and how to watch: click here.
• Complete America’s Cup coverage: click here
• Additional America’s Cup information: click here

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