After 10 hard-fought regattas, Emirates Team New Zealand has succeeded in defending the 36th America’s Cup with a 7-to-3 victory over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.
The two teams alternated wins throughout the first three days, but the defender New Zealanders won two consecutive races, which allowed them to take the lead. Winning one regatta Tuesday and the last one today got them over the line, with the seven points required to win the America’s Cup.
New Zealand has now won the oldest trophy in sports four times.
“We went out this morning determined to win two races and confident that we could do so. The boys on board were incredibly motivated and focused, and it wasn’t easy for them. They started well, but unfortunately right after the start the wind shifted by 20 degrees and compromised the first downwind leg, and at that point the rest of the race,” said Max Sirena, skipper and team director of Luna Rossa. “Obviously we aren’t’ happy with the final results; after you have won three races in the America’s Cup you start believing that you can do it. We have given our very best every day out on the water. I want to thank everyone in Italy who has supported us throughout these incredible nights. And I want to thank the team, who has worked with me for over three years. I thank [Prada chief executive officer] Patrizio Bertelli for the opportunity he has given me. These three-and-a-half years have been unforgettable.”
Last month, Luna Rossa won the Prada Cup in the Auckland waters, sealing a 7-to-1 win over team Ineos U.K.
Seven points were required to win the Challenger Selection Series and the right to challenge the Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup match.
The Prada Cup finals kicked off on Feb. 13 and took place despite a 72-hour lockdown that put all of Auckland on hold with a COVID- 19 alert.
The America’s Cup was supposed to begin on March 6 but was again delayed for another lockdown and started on March 10.
As reported, at the end of January, Luna Rossa won two races against NYYC American Magic, gaining access to the Prada Cup finals, facing team Ineos U.K., the undefeated winner in the round robins.
The Luna Rossa team was established in 1997 by Prada’s Bertelli, an avid sailor, and the team won the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, with a record of 38 victories over 49 races. It also competed in 2003 and in 2007, when it reached the Louis Vuitton Cup final.