And they’ve done it again: New Zealand won the America’s Cup for the fourth time, after 1995, 2000 and 2017. For the second time a kiwi can defend it twice in a row, 30-year-old helmsman Peter Burling and his crew won. . Italian team Luna Rossa also missed their fifth attempt, losing to the New Zealanders 5-0 on the same waters 20 years ago, but this time they beat themselves out by a massive 7-3. And it may still be the case for the Italians.
Five million New Zealanders will celebrate that night because they have proven that their small country can at least defeat the world at sail. 60 million Italians, on the other hand, will cry, or perhaps a large number of them will. Anyway, another great opportunity had passed to bring the oldest continuously held sporting event in the world to the old continent. An old rule of the cup has been fulfilled: the fastest boat wins.
The New Zealanders had the fastest boat. In light wind conditions between eight to twelve knots, they were about a knot faster than the Italians on all courses, at speeds of 30 to 40 knots five to seven and a half percent.
However, at the start of the cup final the Italians seemed to be able to stand up. Especially in the beginning, the Francesco Bruni/Jimmy Spiethl duo initially proved cooler, aggressive, and developed advantages over and over again. This also contributed to the fact that the Italians had to go through sometimes tough eliminations on competitors, so they were adept in a one-on-one situation with these 75-foot-high racing machines. On the other hand, the New Zealand national team trained alone until the start of the cup final.
Although this gave them more time to work on potential speed, they had no experience on the racetrack under racing conditions. In the first few races, for example, they sometimes failed to convert the speed advantage into wins. Once the Italians got ahead, which they could only get off to a good start, there were no chances for the New Zealanders to beat them under steady conditions. The turbulent winds of the opponent in front of you exhausted their speed advantage. After six races it was 3:3, only a few thought the Italians would do it.
ace | Burlingei studio
ace | Burlingei studio
The New Zealand boat was technically superior
But the team surrounding helmsman Peter Burling learned something new, and the last race was a prime example of that learning curve. “We wanted to start on the right, and we wanted to sail to the right in order to use our speed with a clear wind,” Burling said.
The New Zealanders started to the right of and near the Italians, at the start signal they immediately rolled into a turn to the right. The next time they met, they were ahead and did not give up the lead. The Italians fought bravely and kept the race open to the Litur by a narrow margin. But since then, the New Zealanders have moved away.
That was in the 36th America’s Cup.
What will the future of the America’s Cup look like?
It will depend a lot on who will be the next first contender, the so-called registered challenger. This time it was the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team. Right after the finish line, helmsman Francesco Bruni indicated that things would continue: “I’m sure it’s not over yet for Luna Rossa that Patrizio Bertelli continues.” Bertelli, the owner of Prada, is the main financier of the Italian team.
But the British Ineos team must also make demands on the first challenge; Because this mug once again showed how important this early posture is. Defender New Zealand and top contender Italy have been working on the new rules for this cup for about a year and thus have secured a time advantage for developments over the Ineos UK and American Magic teams. In the end, the two teams with the most development time were in the final.
The 36th America’s Cup had a lot to offer: single-chassis frustration, speeds over 50 knots, exciting racing, innovative technology. What was missing was more difference. It will be interesting to watch how the New Zealanders put their cards to the 37th defense, almost four years from now. You have to manage the process of balancing the interests of the billionaire sponsors and the campaigns funded by the sponsorship, you have to maintain or revitalize the enthusiasm for the Cup outside of New Zealand, but in the end everyone has to focus on New Zealand.
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