Team New Zealand WIN the America’s Cup
Team New Zealand claimed the America’s Cup for a third time on Tuesday after securing a 7-1 series victory over holders Oracle Team USA.
It was a remarkable turnaround for the Auckland-based syndicate after suffering a defeat at the last regatta in 2013, giving up an 8-1 lead over Oracle in the process.
With a young crew led by Olympic gold medallist Peter Burling, Team New Zealand sailed, and cycled, their way through the qualifying series to reach the America’s Cup final.
Here’s how they secured the America’s Cup once again.
Before the six teams got to Bermuda they all raced in the America’s Cup World Series, staged across nine different locations. Land Rover BAR won the series to take two bonus points into the America’s Cup qualifying series, with Oracle earning one point for finishing second. Team New Zealand ended up in third place on the overall standings with just six victories across the 40 fleet races.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup qualifying series
On to Bermuda for the start of the America’s Cup regatta with the five qualifying teams along with the defenders Oracle Team USA racing each other in two rounds with the top four challengers advancing to the playoffs. Oracle were only playing for the chance to take a bonus point into the America’s cup, which they achieved by finishing top of the standings with eight victories and two defeats. Team New Zealand also finished with an eight-win, two loss record but vitally those two TNZ defeats were against James Spithill and Oracle Team USA. The two squared off on the opening day of racing with Oracle passing Team New Zealand on the sixth mark to win by just six seconds. They clashed again on the final day of the qualifying series – racing for the vital America’s Cup bonus point – with Peter Burling making costly errors to lose by 29 seconds.
Team New Zealand still finished as the top qualifier and picked Ben Ainslie Racing as their semifinal opponent.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup qualifying semifinals
Team New Zealand lined up against BAR but it was a dud of a first day with Ainlie’s boat suffering a broken camber arm which saw them retire from race one and withdrawl from race two. Team New Zealand then extended their lead to 3-0 in windy conditions the next day before suffering a dramatic pitch-pole and capsizing into the Bermuda waters during the pre-race for race four. All TNZ crew were fine but the shorecrew had a major job ahead to fix the boat. They luckily got an extra day to fix the damage with racing called off the following day as Team New Zealand returned fresh and ready to take race five before BAR hit back in race six to win by 19 seconds and make it 4-2 in the first to five series. Racing resumed the next day with Team New Zealand and match point and they knocked out the British syndicate with a 39 second victory.
In the other semifinal, Dean Barker’s Team Japan gave up a 3-1 series lead to lose 5-3 to Artemis.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup qualifier final
Team New Zealand advanced through to their fifth America’s Cup final with an enthralling series win over Artemis. On the opening day, Team NZ and the Swedish syndicate split the opening two races before Artemis retired from the third race to give TNZ an early 2-1 lead. Team NZ were possibly lucky to have take out the third race after Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge slid overboard approaching the final top gate.
The drama continued on the next day. Artemis evened the series at 2-2 before being forced to retire from day five to fix a mechanical error. In the third race of the day, Team NZ lagged three seconds behind at the third mark, but split to the opposite side of the track downwind and crossed ahead at the next rounding. They stretched that lead upwind on the next beat and simply had to defend to the finish.
But as they rounded the final mark, the Kiwis fell off their foils and stopped dead, allowing Sweden to close at an alarming rate and almost snatch the point.
“We definitely did it a little tough there, and it just shows one little mistake, one little error and you’re really struggling,” said Burling.
Like the BAR series, Team New Zealand went into the next day on match point and needed just the one race to secure the Louis Vuitton trophy and book advance to the America’s Cup, winning the series 5-2.
The America’s Cup
Team New Zealand began the America’s Cup match down negative one but quickly made up for that on a dominating day one with a 30-second in race one before thrashing Oracle by 1 minute and 27 seconds in race two. Two more big race wins on day two put the challengers in a commanding position – a 3-0 lead heading into the five day break. Spithill promised Oracle would be working every hour to get faster but that didn’t seem to make a difference with Team NZ moving to a 4-0 lead with a two-minute victory in race five.
Spithill finally had something to crow about as the much-faster Oracle boat claimed victory in race six to make it 4-1 at the end of day three of racing. Was another comeback on? Not so fast. Burling yet again dominated the Australian in both starts in races seven and eight and held off a fighting Spithill to move Team New Zealand to match point at 6-1.
Team New Zealand then crushed Oracle in race nine to complete the victory.
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NZHerald. (27th June, 2017). How Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11882009.