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Game Time In Auckland

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  • Game Time In Auckland


    Three months after the first official race for the new AC75 class, the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA looks set to lay a marker down in history, with the first race of the Match starting tomorrow 10th of March at 4:15pm NZT.

    Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper Peter Burling and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Skipper & Team Director Max Sirena fronted today the opening press conference, ahead of tomorrow’s start to the best of 13 race series.

    Fast, extreme boats capable of previously unimaginable speeds have been the obvious focus for attention. And yet, at the same time, the racing itself has seen a return to a more traditional style with upwind starts and windward/leeward courses.

    But it’s not just commentators and spectators that have been impressed and surprised by the latest Cup evolution, crews are equally taken aback.

    “These boats were only a concepts three years ago, and now they are exceeding everyone’s expectations of what they can do, and how fast they can go around a race track. The boats’ speed is a mystery for us like for everyone else. At the end of the day, if you talk to anybody in yacht racing, they say if you are not fast enough, you are not in the race. We have done everything to get the fastest boat as possible, we pushed very hard on the hydrodynamic low drag, but the Italians have put together a very good package as well and it makes even more exciting.”

    Neither side was giving much away though. Max Sirena, since his first America’s Cup in in 2000, when boat speeds only just broke into double figures, has seen huge changes at first hand.

    “The boats definitely raising the bar and this Cup cycle has been a quantum leap. Yet, it has happened with a return to the old school style of racing which makes it even more exciting.
    Still I think it’s too hard to judge a boat’s performance just watching it sailing. We know the Kiwis are fast, because we raced them two months ago and we saw them during practise against the Americans and the British few weeks ago, but I’ll let you know tomorrow afternoon if this Final will be close or not. What I can tell is that we are aware this a lifetime opportunity we will try everything to win.”

    For all the knowledge that has been gained and the intense training that has taken place to build the teams’ individual playbooks, the reality is that despite the changes and the new pace of the game, the first race of the 36th America’s Cup will reflect all the previous Cup Matches over the last 170 years. Because, as both boats line up for the start, neither will truly know how the opening race will unfold. Weather forecast for tomorrow is North-westerly breeze between 12 and 17 knots.

    That's it, game on, time to race tomorrow 4.15pm.


    Auckland, New Zealand - 9th March 2021

    After almost four years, it is finally time for the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada - and what a lead-up it has been. As Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand have overcome massive obstacles to prepare for this event, and having dealt with the many hurdles in so many different forms, the entire team has always maintained focus on one goal- Winning the event and retaining the America’s Cup for New Zealand.

    Right from the start, when the AC75 Class Rule was created after securing the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017, Emirates Team New Zealand wanted to bring fast, maneuverable and spectacular racing to the Hauraki Gulf, and having done this, we are only too aware of the unique circumstance surrounding the finals of the oldest international trophy in sport - the great unknown.

    Every Defender of the America’s Cup must work, test, develop and train on their own - waiting for one team to overcome all the Challengers. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli achieved this on February 21st, and having won the Prada Cup and the right to become the official Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada, they are hungry to go one step further, when racing is scheduled to start just after 4pm NZT on Wednesday 10th March.

    But as a team, Emirates Team New Zealand is prepared.

    From the moment the America’s Cup landed in New Zealand nearly four years ago, our designers, engineers, boatbuilders, shore crew, and sailors have been focused on one thing - creating a boat to beat all comers. To achieve this our team has been working quietly away, doing everything possible to squeeze every ounce of performance out of the boat, the sail plan, and the eleven athletes onboard.

    The outcome is Te Rehutai, the boat we will use to defend the America’s Cup, and in the lead up to the Cup we have been out on the water, training relentlessly, pushing hard, and focusing on being battle-ready. The effort has been enormous, the focus intense, and the commitment absolute from every single member of our team, who know that until the start of race one of the 36th America’s Cup Match, nobody has any clear idea of the relative speeds of the two teams. Past results mean nothing here - this is the pinnacle that all crews aim for, the ultimate test in yacht racing, to win the greatest prize in sailing - the America’s Cup. The final push begins now.

    Over twenty years later, Luna Rossa is back in the final of the Americas' Cup match in the waters of Auckland and once again the New Zealand team is defending the Cup.

    Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli reaches the final after a full month of racing against the other two challengers in the PRADA Cup: NYYC American Magic and Ineos Team UK.
    The first period of racing started in mid-January with the round-robin series. In the semifinals, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli appeared more confident in the maneuvers and boat handling, earning the right to race in the final of the PRADA Cup, with four consecutive victories against the Americans.

    The final against the British confirmed a clear improvement in the performance of the boat, in terms of speed, even in the stronger wind conditions in which Luna Rossa had appeared less comfortable. On February 21st, with 7-1 score, Luna Rossa beats the English team Ineos Team UK and wins the PRADA Cup, gaining the right to face Emirates Team New Zealand in the final match of for the 36th America's Cup presented by PRADA.

    After the postponements caused by the lockdown in which Auckland activities were blocked due to the COVID 19 alert level 3, with the reduction to level 2 racing can finally start.
    Tomorrow, Wednesday March 10th at 4.15 pm the two teams will come face to face, for the first time since the December races of the America’s Cup World Series.
    After the first two tests scheduled for Wednesday, there will be one rest day and then racing will resume on the weekend, starting from Friday. For the first two days, with Auckland still on alert Level 2, the racing courses close to the coast will be banned to avoid crowds; the only courses available will be course A, towards Takapuna, and course E near Waiheke Island.

    Max Sirena, Skipper and Team Director

    “Now we can really say that we are in the America's Cup. It’s been a long journey to reach this point, with pitfalls and tough moments. We are very happy to have won the PRADA Cup and reached the first of our goals, which was to race against the Defender. It is an important moment for us and represents the result of three years of hard work. We have proved that we would not give up, even when everyone had signed us off. The whole team is fully focused on racing. We’re ready to give our very best without forgetting our final goal and why we are here. It’s obvious that when you are in an America's Cup final anything can happen, it’s not just any regatta, you are up against the best and to beat the best you have to do better than them."

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Any idea of the broadcast times?


    • #3
      A Split For Day One

      It was impossible to exaggerate the importance and significance of the of the first race in any America’s Cup as the anticipation and build up that proceeds the first day is beyond anything else in sport.

      The day one of the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA didn’t disappoint with the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sitting on a tie after two races. Pretty even performances between the two boats once again confirmed that there is not space for mistakes.

      Today’s results clearly show that there is a long way to go in this first to 7 point America’s Cup Match. As 170 years of history taught the game is far from over.


      Race 1
      Start: 1615
      Port: NZL
      Stbd: ITA
      Course: E
      Axis: 358
      Length: 1.85nm
      Current: 0.2 knots @ 163

      Wind 10-12kts

      Winner Emirates Team New Zealand – 0:31

      As the clock counted down during the last few minutes before the start of the 36th America’s Cup the wind speed had settled at 10 to 12kts. One of the pre-start variables was established.
      Emirates Team New Zealand entered from the left-hand side on port tack heading into the pre-start zone at 44knots. As they crossed the bow of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli with distance to spare, both boats headed deep into the zone. As they moved towards the right-hand corner and gybed to head deeper the pair prepared to lock horns. But as both headed back towards the start line, judging the time on distance for the return was crucial. Both appeared to be early as Emirates Team New Zealand switched to take the windward position as each headed up to slow down. Neither came off their foils but these were precious seconds for both as they tried to kill time. Luna Rossa’s co-helm Jimmy Spithill forced the Kiwis who were to windward up further as he tried to control the line up.
      But as both crossed the line the defenders had a slight advantage sitting to windward and looking to overhaul the challengers.

      In an attempt to prevent the Kiwis from rolling over their breeze and Luna Rossa tried to luff the Kiwis and pressed the button for a protest, complaining that Emirates Team New Zealand had not kept clear. From the air it looked like a desperate attempt to prevent the inevitable. The umpires took the same view and refused to award a penalty.
      The move had been an Italian gamble that hadn’t paid off and had slowed them up in the process, delivering the advantage to Emirates Team New Zealand.
      From there, the home team kept their lead throughout the three lap race and while the distance between them ebbed and flowed with each leg and never got larger than 23 seconds, Luna Rossa were unable to make a big enough impression on the Kiwi lead.
      After 23minutes of racing Emirates Team New Zealand took the first win of the 36th America’s Cup in a race that was defined by the first few seconds off the start.

      Race 2
      Start: 1715
      Port: ITA
      Stbd: NZL
      Course: E
      Axis: 358
      Length: 2nm
      Current: 0.1 knots @ 172
      Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 0:07

      As both boats came into the start zone the breeze had increased a notch and was now sitting at 13kts.
      The entries were now reversed from the previous race, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli came in from the left on port, with Emirates Team New Zealand entering from the right.
      Once again both headed out towards the right-hand side of the pre-start area, but this time Team New Zealand tacked around while the Italians gybed. When the Kiwis came down from above to engage with the Italians they were a little slow to do so and ended up trailing. The result was that the early advantage went to the Italians forcing the Kiwis to tack onto port at the start in order to try and escape the clutches of their opponents.

      But co-helmsmen Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni had anticipated this and tacked quickly to cover.
      As the pair headed out to the right and the next tack ensued, Luna Rossa delivered a similar defensive move, tacking on the bow of Team New Zealand and sailing as high as possible to prevent the Kiwis from coming through. The tactic was working but the margin remained small.
      On the next tack back onto port, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were to windward but Emirates Team New Zealand had clear wind to leeward. Was this their opportunity to put their foot down and slide through to leeward?

      It might have been an opportunity, but Peter Burling and Co were unable to exploit it.
      Another tack back onto starboard and the Italian defensive position returned.

      By gate 1 the Italians had managed to pull a 13 second lead over the Kiwis as both boats rounded the right-hand mark of the gate.
      From there little changed on the first downwind leg which was a drag race to gate 2, the Kiwis taking back a single second to round 12seconds behind.
      Halfway up the second beat, the Italians benefitted from picking the better side of the course and extended their lead to 250m on the water. Yet despite the physical distance between the two, the Italians continued to cover their opponents.

      By gate 3 Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had extended their lead to 25 seconds as they rounded the left-hand mark of the gate, accelerating to 49.8kts as they did so.
      An indication of how hard the Kiwis were chasing came as they turned the same mark hitting 51knots as they did so. On the water the distance between the pair was now 430m.
      As the Italians prepared to round the left-hand mark of gate 4 they dropped their starboard foil, the first indication that they wanted to pull off a high speed tack out of the rounding. They did and indeed it was perfect.

      But heading for the right hand side of the course cost them distance on the Kiwis who rounded the same left hand mark but headed out to the left. By the time the pair came back together the margin had decreased significantly and by gate 5 the time between them was just 12 sec
      onds, down from 24.

      On the last downwind leg to the finish the tension built as the Kiwis brought some breeze with them and pulled back a few more seconds.
      By the finish it was close, just 7 seconds. But a win is a win, whatever the margin. The Italians had put their first point on the board, the scores were now even.
      So, for those looking for a clear indication as to who has the upper hand in the 36th America’s Cup, the opening day delivered no guide. Instead, it had proved just how closely matched these two teams are and how the Cup looks unlikely to be a walkover, for either team.
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        Good to see a non blowout set of races for once!


        • #5
          Day 2 : Deja Vu All Over Again

          Auckland, New Zealand - 12th March 2021

          After Wednesday’s opening salvo of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada produced a 1-1 scoreline for defender Emirates Team New Zealand, and challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, yesterday’s lay day saw both teams remaining ashore using their time wisely. The shore crew checked every component of the AC75, whilst the sailing team debriefed race 1 & 2 with their coaches working through their extensive playbook to review what unfolded in races 1 & 2, plus spending time with team meteorologist Roger “Clouds” Badham to plan for the light and complex conditions forecast for today.

          If the first day of racing was about sizing up your opposition - from today it is all about dominating them. The intensity has ramped up, and for both teams, today is all about starting well, staying up on the foils, and making a statement.

          Race 3

          Following a delay due to spectators encroaching the the racecourse boundaries, Race 3 started with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli entering course E on port. With the breeze between 8 and 10 knots, Emirates Team New Zealand closed in hard on their stern, and the pre-race wriggle was on. Both teams sailed high and slow before the start, then turned down parallel to the line, accelerating for a clean start out to the left side after the gun. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli dug in just behind Emirates Team New Zealand, sailing wide off their windward hip, putting co helmsman Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni in a powerful position after the first tack. It was close - with plenty of risk involved, but it paid off for the Italians who again sailed high mode, lee bowing Emirates Team New Zealand, and making life hard for Burling, who had to tack away from the Italians bad air, which really set up the race win for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

          With a light but relatively stable breeze, the options for the Emirates Team New Zealand were limited, as Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli used all their options out in front staying to the right hand side of the course always choosing the opportune time to tack on the defenders and continuing to force them back onto a narrow side of the course, which allowed them to relax their cover at the top of leg 1 rounding the first upwind gate 10 seconds ahead.

          The boats split on leg 2, both searching for stronger breeze, but conditions remained light and stable minimising any overtaking opportunities and allowing Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli to stretch out a 170 metre lead. Co helmsman Jimmy Spithill was heard to say, “lets just play the phases” and that is what the lead boat did, giving Emirates Team New Zealand very few options. Burling and his crew ate into the Italians lead, but with no changing lanes it was tough, with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli wining Race 3 by 37 seconds.

          As Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli co helm Francesco Bruni highlighted after the race. “We had our plan, and we executed it well at the start - and from there on we had the opportunity to make them pay at the left boundary - and we did it. It was tough on the first downwind and I had the feeling they closed up, but we kept it calm, waited for our moments and sailed a really clean race.”

          For Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling, he was solid and upbeat on the result, “We were definitely pretty happy with the performance. It would have been nice to come away with a win, and we thought we didn’t do a bad job off the line. They got a little too much gauge to the right and got a nice lee bow tack and did a good job there, making hard for us to get any shifts and get back into it - and we even had to do a couple of extra manoeuvres, which put us too far behind to catch up.”

          Race 4

          With Emirates Team New Zealand entering the staring box on port, they again headed out to the boundary, and gybed back in at 1.16 to the gun. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli following tacked high and looked like they were poised to sail down to engage hard in the pre start. The renowned aggression of Jimmy Spithill took hold, and as Emirates Team New Zealand slowed, appearing close to falling off their foils at 45 seconds to the gun, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli went for a hook - and failed. Burling accelerated, got his speed up, nailed the time on distance and started ahead with the Italians to windward very close on their hip. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli couldn’t survive and were forced away - giving the starting battle to Emirates Team New Zealand.

          In between race 3 & 4, you could see the brains trust of the New Zealand team deep in discussion and this is what they were after. In these light conditions the leading boat was in a powerful position to dominate, and Emirates Team New Zealand were not going to slip up. A 50 metre lead on the first leg extended to 140 metres with clear communication from Tuke, Ashby and Burling working well as the breeze started to soften. With the breeze dropping to between 7-8 knots it was critical not to make any mistakes - and it was the Italians who made an error that cost them dearly. Heading towards the bottom gate in leg 2 they mistimed their foil drop giving up another 20 seconds to the race leader. Recovering from that, the Italians dropped behind to 400 metres on the final upwind and then 680 metres on the final leg. Levelling the score in this intensely fought America’s Cup match, presented by Prada

          As flight controller Blair Tuke commented on Race 4, “We just got off the line slightly better than Race 3 - and managed to get the jump on them. The boat is going really well and managed to extend nicely. In the first race we didn’t get much fresh air - but in race 4 it was great to get in front, and its a lot easier without the wind shadows, freeing us to look up the course and pick the shifts on our terms - a really good bounce back from the guys.”

          Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli co helms Jimmy Spithill’s comments after the race summed up the light and tricky day, “One-one scoreline today, great racing from both teams - full credit to the Kiwis, they did a nice job in that race and looking forwards to tomorrow!”
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


          • #6
            What if the Italians win?

            Who would be the COR? Seems that it has been Italy for the past 5-6 cycles?


            • #7
              Downtime Slows Racing In Auckland

              15th March 2021

              Emirates Team New Zealand take a 5-3 lead

              Day 5 of the America’s Cup presented by PRADA was without a doubt the most heart stopping of the 36th America’s Cup. After four days of deadlock and races decided 5 minutes after the start, today Emirates Team New Zealand put 2 points on the scoreboard and took a 2 win lead over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

              For the first time in this America’s Cup both races saw lead changes. Unsteady and light winds played a big role in the change of fortunes as being on the foils meant the difference between leading and loosing.

              With the score board at 5:3, the deadlock is broken and tomorrow is going to be a key day. Will the Kiwis keep the momentum and win again or will the Italians fight back and push the Cup into a seventh day? The question will be answered tomorrow at 4:15 pm NZT.

              Race 7 - Emirates Team New Zealand beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
              Start: 1615
              Port: ITA
              Stbd: NZL
              Course: E
              Axis: 027
              Length: 1.9nm
              Current: 0.1 knots @ 137
              Wind: 9-12knots 025-050 degrees
              Winner: Emirates Team New Zealand – 0:58

              As the clock counted down to Race 7 the breeze was well within limits, hovering between 9-12 knots. But the direction wasn’t as steady with a variation over around 25 degrees and phasing around every five minutes. Could this provide the passing opportunities that have been lacking in the previous races?

              As Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli entered the pre-start zone from the left-hand side Emirates Team New Zealand were quick to get onto their tail as both headed out to the right hand side of the zone. As the pair came back towards the start line both were early, Luna Rossa were well above the line while Team New Zealand stayed low.

              In the closing seconds Luna Rossa had more speed as they crossed the line and rolled over the Kiwis who tried to luff to hold them back. But the move failed. In an identical start to the first race of the 36th America’s Cup the roles had been reversed it was now the Kiwis who were on the back foot. Just one and a half minutes into the race and the Italians had a 150 m lead, sailing high and climbing onto the Kiwi track. They forced Emirates Team New Zealand to tack off onto starboard. But the left was paying and the Kiwis benefitted, plus they were going quickly. Within another minute they had halved the distance between them and the Italians down to 70 m.
              Coming into Gate 1 both boats took the right-hand mark and smoked down the first downwind leg, taking their time to gybe. The distance between the two was now just 50 m, but you didn’t need the numbers to see the pressure that the Defenders were putting on the Challengers be it upwind or down. The big change came after the downwind leg.

              Luna Rossa led by 10 seconds and headed out to the left leaving the Kiwis to round the same mark but tacked off to head over to the right instantly after rounding the mark. By the time the pair came back together with the Kiwis on starboard and Luna Rossa on port, the Italians were forced to tack underneath. This allowed the Kiwis to take control of the beat. A minute later and Emirates Team New Zealand were fully in charge rounding Gate 3 19 seconds ahead.

              At the bottom of the second downwind leg they had drawn out their lead to 29 seconds. And from there, the margin simply grew leg by leg as Emirates Team New Zealand took a win crossing the finishing line 58 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa.

              Race 8 - Emirates Team New Zealand beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
              Start: 1715
              Port: NZL
              Stbd: ITA
              Course: E
              Axis: 001
              Length: 1.89nm
              Current: 0.1 knots @ 151
              Wind 9 knots 000 degrees
              Winner Emirates Team New Zealand: 3:55

              So far in the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA neither team had won two races in a row, so was this the moment that the game changed?
              The left-hand shift that had been present in the closing stages of the first race of the day had persisted forcing regatta director Iain Murray to shift the course axis to match. The breeze had also dropped slightly and was now down to 9 knots.
              Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were using a larger jib than Emirates Team New Zealand, would this pay off in the lighter breeze?
              Into the zone the Italians tried to get onto the Kiwis’ tail but had a slow gybe. The Kiwis were off the hook momentarily.

              As they turned to head back Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were ahead and to leeward. Seconds later it was an even start with the Italians at the pin end. Sailing high they managed to bounce off the Kiwis, forcing them to tack over to the right. If the Italians wanted the left they had now got it to themselves.
              The breeze was staying low, this was a different race to race 7.
              When the pair came back together with Luna Rossa coming in from the left they were ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, the margin 60m.
              As the pair crossed they swapped sides of the course. With the breeze now down to around 8-9 knots, keeping the pace on and avoiding costly manoeuvres was now key.

              At the second cross the Italians were still ahead and had extended their lead.
              Towards the top of the course both boats had congregated towards the right-hand side of the course. The breeze was still showing signs of remaining at 8-9 knots.
              As Luna Rossa passed through Gate 1 they were 16secs ahead as they took the right hand mark. The Kiwis took the same mark. Seconds later during the gybe the Italian jib looked like it couldn’t be trimmed properly and was over eased for some time costing them distance all the while. Within seconds the race had closed up but there was further drama to come as the breeze dropped and the Kiwis splashed down leaving them dead in the water.

              Luna Rossa appeared to have got their jib back under control and were still at speed, hurtling into Gate 2 doing 34 knots to the Kiwis’ 14 knots.
              As the Italians passed through the gate they were almost a leg ahead and while the next pass that came was close, the boats were on different legs, the Italians almost 2 km ahead.
              By the time the Kiwis rounded the bottom gate they were 4:08 ahead.
              But at Gate 3 there were problems for the Italians. The breeze had dropped further and their last tack onto the layline dropped them off their foils. They managed to creep around the right-hand mark and slide out to the right-hand side of the course. But there was no breeze here and the Italians failed to get back up onto their foils.
              Then came the news that the race would be shortened to 5 legs, finishing at gate 5, the final upwind leg.

              Meanwhile, Emirates Team New Zealand were still flying and hauling back lost distance. The breeze was so light that the Italians had not been able to make any progress downwind, adding to their problems.
              Emirates Team New Zealand managed to pull off a clean tack and stay on the foils they were hauling in distance fast. Now the tables were turning, the Kiwis still flying, the Italians stuck in the water and heading to the boundary as the Kiwis overtook their opponents.

              Penalty after penalty for the Italians as they sailed through the boundary, not that it made much difference. Getting back onto the foils was key.
              As the Kiwis continued to sail at speed each gybe from here was crucial to maintain their lead. And while at the bottom of the course there was still a reasonable amount of breeze, there was still a tricky upwind leg to come. But Emirates Team New Zealand managed it perfectly and while the Italians got back onto their foils, they were now over 2 km behind with just over a leg to go.

              And from there nothing changed as Emirates Team New Zealand won the second race of the day.

              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

     Photo Gallery


              • #8
                Kiwis Take Race 9, Now Just 1 Win Away

                Auckland, New Zealand - 16th March 2021

                Both teams headed out to course C onto the Hauraki Gulf today with the same game plan. Keeping it simple - and just focusing on the next race. In what has become a roller coaster of extreme emotions for everyone involved in this 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada, that may sound like a tough call - but for the Defender and Challenger, it is all about focusing on the next move, the next call, and then the next move after that.

                For the eleven athletes onboard Emirates Team New Zealand as they headed out on the water, the last leg of the race today is light-years away. Performing in such a pressure cooker environment is normal for the Te Rehutai crew, who thrive in the cauldron of America’s Cup, Olympic and round the world races, forging nerves of steel and an absolute reliance on the group around them. As flight controller Blair Tuke commented: “To turn that round in Race 8 was just massive for the team.” With two wins from two races yesterday, Emirates Team New Zealand were looking to pile the pressure on their opposition - one race at a time.

                Race 9

                After a delay in racing waiting for the breeze to stabilise for Race Course C, there were elbows out on the water by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, and though it was close, they led up leg one, protecting their lead at every opportunity and using their high mode in the critical and close moments. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were first around the first windward gate, but it was tight - just one second separating the boats, who rounded and accelerated downwind at 43 knots. The Italians were just ahead on leg 2, and with Emirates Team New Zealand close behind, an aggressive match racing move by Jimmy Spithill on board Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli at the bottom of the course reminded the crew onboard Te Rehutai this race was far from over, as they were pushed out wide, rounding the bottom gate 100 metres behind the Italians.

                As we saw yesterday in Race 8, nothing is certain in this event, and with changeable weather conditions forecast to arrive, Peter Burling and his team held on, staying in the fight, chipping away and reducing the deficit to 78 metres. Again Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rounded the top gate in front, doubling their lead to 142 metres on leg 4, but they knew they had a fight on their hands as tension in the voices of co-helmsman Spithill and Bruni revealed. Splitting at the bottom gate, Emirates Team New Zealand headed back up leg 5, and were tacked on the middle of the course, and so peeled off to look for clear air on the right-hand side of the course - then gained from a right hand wind shift which was the game-changer in this race. For Burling and his team, this allowed them to accelerate towards the final top gate, but for the Italians it was simply not what they wanted, as they were headed by the shift – and you could hear it in Jimmy Spithill’s voice. For the crew onboard Te Rehutai, this was the opportunity they were looking for – and they seized it, rounding the final top gate in front, turning down towards the finish line at 41 knots, quickly extending out to a 500 metre lead to take Race 9 by 30 seconds, and lead the regatta 6-3.

                For co-helmsman onboard Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Jimmy Spithill, it was another tough moment, with just two words for his crew as he crossed the line. “Sorry boys.” His co helm Francesco Bruni expanded on their race loss. “Yes unfortunately, we did let it get away – but chin up and keep fighting, as we know we can win races. No surprise we played very elbows out today, particularly at the bottom of Leg 2. They were overlapped behind us and so couldn’t gybe, so we stretched out a little there. It was a fantastic race and no big regrets. No change to the game plan, its about picking the right shifts at the right time.”

                After the win, Emirates Team New Zealand helm Peter Burling remained calm and focused on the job at hand. “It was a pretty tight race and one little right shift decided it for us. I think we did a good job at the start – it's good fun racing and great to be back on course C, and having a really good battle with a good team. We will keep fighting and keep trying to win races. This team has been in this position before, and so it about keeping improving, keep moving forwards. That race was close, and so we know we are going to have to sail well in the next one.”

                With weather conditions shifting across the racecourse as the time limit expired, the race committee were unable to run the second race of the day, and so we go into tomorrow with Emirates Team New Zealand leading the event 6-3. With the winner the first to win 7 races, tomorrow will see a massive day for both teams out on the Hauraki gulf in this extraordinary 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada.
                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

       Photo Gallery


                • #9
                  The Kiwi's Cup Runneth Over

                  Auckland, New Zealand – 17th March 2021

                  Both crews headed out to the Hauraki Gulf today looking to keep it simple, and stick to what they had trained for years to do. That was the plan – and then Emirates Team New Zealand lifted the intensity after the start of Race 10, to take their fifth race in a row and win the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada.

                  Race 10

                  After a delay for the race committee to shift the marks and accommodate the 7-10 knots breeze out on Course A, it was Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli who entered the start box first on port, and as they did so you could hear co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill reinforce that the right-hand side of the start line looked good. The crew onboard Emirates Team New Zealand certainly knew this, and tacking high above the line, came back in for Pete Burling to place Te Rehutai perfectly with ten seconds to go, and out positioned the Italians at the start, to then peel off to the right hand side of the course. Coming back in and taking advantage of a right hand shift, Emirates Team New Zealand came in leading, and slammed a tack on the Challengers. First blood and a small lead to Burling and crew.

                  From there it was close: The Italians came back in to duck below, which allowed Te Rehutai out to the left of the course looking for more gains, which they found and headed through the first top gate with a lead of seven seconds. It was tight, but we were about to see just what Te Rehutai was capable of, stretching out to a 250 metre lead and sailing at 41 knots. At the bottom of leg 2, that lead extended to 9 seconds after they sailed to the breeze rather than cover their opponents. Heading into the same mark, both boats gybed, and Emirates Team New Zealand rounded wide, but Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli struggled behind them, sailing with both foils down for too long, slowing them and suddenly Te Rehutai was 250 metres ahead on leg 3.

                  That opened the door for Emirates Team New Zealand, and when you give sailors the calibre of Peter Burling a sniff at an opportunity like that – he will take it with both hands, and shut down every opportunity for you to get back into the race. Ahead, and in clean but shifty air, the team extended into better pressure, then looked to extend further.

                  Clear, calm and unhurried communication between Burling, Tuke, and Ashby allowed them to sail their own race – and with a constant breeze, fans ashore began to sense a victory here. At Gate 4 that lead extended to 37 seconds, and at the final top gate it was 49 seconds, and a 400 metres lead.

                  Down the final leg 650 metres out in front, cheered on by their fans at home and around the world, Te Rehutai crossed the line at 38 knots with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli crossing 46 seconds later, but as we know in this the oldest trophy in international sport – there is no second place. The sensational victory today was brilliantly executed by the entire team. The after guard working seamlessly, and the grinders, heads down, pouring power from the handles up to the trimmers, allowing them to throw Te Rehutai around and dominate their opposition.

                  Today was a stunning victory for the team, who were quite open about the lack of boat-on-boat racing experience in this new AC75 class at the beginning of this event. This meant the team had to lift their game and learn fast, taking key lessons out of the regatta as they moved forwards one race each, until Races 7 and 8, when they lifted their game and rolled over the Italians to dominate the event through Races 9 and 10: Winning the regatta 7-3 and retaining the oldest trophy in international sport.

                  For winning skipper, Peter Burling – he couldn’t thank his supporters enough – “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.”

                  Onboard the Challenger, Francesco Bruni thanked the team and supporters of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, saying, “It is not finished – and with all this experience in the team we will try again. Thank you Italia, grazie Italia.”

                  After winning the Cup in Bermuda in 2017, CEO Grant Dalton and Emirates Team New Zealand wanted to create a new America’s Cup class, to promote fast, close, and exhilarating sailing. With the AC75 they have achieved this and more. Changing the perception of yacht racing forever, as spectators witnessed nine lead changes in one race, and in the finals, turning a heart stopping four minute deficit into nearly a four minute victory.

                  The celebrations began onboard Emirates Team New Zealand after they crossed the finish line, and will continue on throughout the night after the prize giving. The final word goes to Emirates Team New Zealand flight controller Blair Tuke, “What a beauty! Time to enjoy it! To win the America’s Cup on home waters – unbelievable! To know the work that has gone into this. Just huge from the whole team. It has been a massive honour to race in from of five million Kiwis, and to know we have had their support!”
                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                  • #10
                    Congrats to the Kiwi's and their county mates!

                    Jealous as to their advanced thinking on dealing with the pandemic and working through it!


                    • #11
                      Where will Jimmy Spittilini surface for next cycle?

                      Will OZ return to the fray?