The 36th duel to win the most prestigious trophy will begin in international sailing outside Auckland on Wednesday. Italians dream of only a third European victory since 1851. That is what the host Kiwi wants to avoid as champions.
Oakland – Three years of preparation, two teams, one dream: When the 36th America’s Cup match gets the first green light for the 36th America’s Cup Wednesday morning at 4.15 am, a lot will be at stake for both teams.
New Zealand Cup defender Luna Rossa meets Tea Riotai. The Italians are chasing the world’s finest sailing trophy on their sixth attempt, fighting for only the third European victory in the cup’s 170-year history.
“I would say the chances are half and half. It is no secret that I see our strength, especially in light winds. With more winds, I see the New Zealand team at the forefront,” Martin Fischer predicted. The German physicist, born in Cell, is Azzurri’s co-design coordinator and co-developer of the new AC75 Cup class. The team that can book seven victory points wins the cup first.
The duel will be fought for the oldest silver pitcher in international sailing with budgets exceeding the € 100m cap and for future monolithic projectiles rising out of the water on wings known as foil. They “fly” over the regatta track at speeds of over 90 kilometers per hour.
For teams, the showdown at Hauraki Golf New Zealand, 21 years after the first cup duel, is like a déjà vu: shortly after the turn of the millennium, the Kiwi outperformed the Italians 5-0 on their home turf. Now the 100-player racing team from passionate trophy hunter Patrizio Pettelli Italia wants to fulfill a dream he always dreamed of. Previously, “Luna Rossa” won the final challenge against the Eneos team of sailing legend Sir Ben Ainsley of Great Britain. “It has been a long journey full of pitfalls in difficult times,” said Italian team captain and captain Max Serena, referring to the many obstacles that all teams had to overcome in times of the Corona pandemic.
The Serena team reached the final with a “light wind rocket” and an unusual helmsman concept: during races, four-time Olympic contestant Francesco Bruni of Palermo and Australian Heavyweight Cup Jimmy Spethyl takes turns.
The 41-year-old from Sydney won the Copa America in 2010 and 2013 with the Oracle team from the USA, before New Zealand beat Bermuda in 2017 with 26-year-old helmsman and 49th Olympic champion Peter Burling. Because of his defeat, Spithill now wants to give back “Luna Rossa”. He knows his opponent well: “Peter Burling is without doubt the best sailor in the world.” Francesco Bruni describes Berling as “a crazy talent”.
The 30-year-old and his Olympic crew, Blair Tok, form the heart and lungs on board the New Zealand ship “T Rihautai”. The multi-talented Kiwi, who wants to compete for medals in the Olympic sailing regatta in Japan in the summer again in the 49er race with Berlin with Eric Hill and Thomas Blossel (third in the 2016 Olympics), is a barometer of all things America’s Cup.
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