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America's Cup: Third anniversary of Emirates Team NZ win in Bermuda

by Richard Gladwell/ 26 Jun 21:39 NZST 26 June 2020
The celebrations begin as Emirates Team NZ crosses the finish off the America's Cup Village, Bermuda, June 26, 2017 © Richard Gladwell /

Three years ago at 14.33PM Bermuda time, on June 26, Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line off the Royal Dockyard, Bermuda to win the 35th Match for the America's Cup.

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron became the only club to have lost the America's Cup and then regained it.

Day 5 — America's Cup is now New Zealand's Cup

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron created sailing history to become the first club to regain the America's Cup, after Emirates Team New Zealand sailed to victory in Race 9.

On Day 5 two races were scheduled, but only the first was required after the New Zealand team, trailing at Mark 1, passed the Defender on the second leg and then sailed away to a series win by a margin of 54 seconds.

The outcome of the race was never in doubt, once Emirates Team New Zealand gybed first and was able to sail a faster angle to the second mark.

Oracle Team USA, started with a bigger jib than the New Zealand team who looked to be rigged more for conditions in the 9-12-kt range That was an ambitious call as it turned out, with the breeze never getting above 9 kts.

Once again Emirates Team New Zealand looked to have the better of the start, again taking up the leeward position and allowing Jimmy Spithill to take the windward slot at the start.

The US team seemed to be rigged for a fast first leg, and despite having to sail the longer distance, they shot over the top of the New Zealanders to take a 4-second lead at the first mark. Normally, that should have set the stage for a race win, which would have got the Americans back on the comeback trail, but it was not to be. Emirates Team New Zealand put 22 seconds on Oracle Team USA on the next beat and then kept a loose cover to seal the race and wrest the America's Cup from the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Ashore the fans celebrated a mix of joy and relief. The joy was for the outstanding performance and indeed survival of the team, which had withstood attack after attack off the water since losing to Oracle Team USA in 2013 in the series that spanned three weeks and ran across 19 races.

Add to that the 1-second loss in the seventh race of the 2007 America's Cup in Valencia, the ignominy of 2003 defeat and the loss of the America's Cup on the Hauraki Gulf in the second defence.

Further back is the break-up of the then Team New Zealand following the luring of key sailors to Swiss Challenger Alinghi.

There were plenty of lurking demons in the Kiwi America's Cup kitbag, which were exorcised by the day's win.

Emirates Team New Zealand's win triggered several firsts:

  • Peter Burling and Blair Tuke became the first sailors in history to win an Olympic Gold Medal and an America's Cup in the space of 12 months.

  • Emirates Team New Zealand was the most inexperienced crew to win the America's Cup — with just one America's Cup regatta among the crew.

  • Peter Burling became the youngest helmsman to win the America's Cup.
  • Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron became the first club to win back the America's Cup.

    At the presentation of the America's Cup, there was no hand-over from the previous Defender to the new, as had happened in 2010 in Valencia.

    Instead the America's Cup was brought to the podium by a white gloved security guard and placed on a stand.

    Peter Burling and Glenn Ashby picked up the 166 year old Victorian ewer and raised it in triumph above their heads. The sea of Kiwi fans, festooned with New Zealand flags and wearing their team's livery just roared. The emotion was palpable. The faces of every person in front of the stage or on it was the face of ecstatic individual joy. The America's Cup had become the People's Cup

    It was a scene that was to be replicated over and over again when the America's Cup arrived back in New Zealand, and then on the street parades and receptions in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. In one of the unexpected idiosyncrasies of human nature the trophy which Matteo de Nora said seemed to be contested between eccentric billionaires who wanted to have a go at each other, became an object of huge emotional attachment and pride for people often of very limited means who closely identified themselves with Emirates Team New Zealand and all that it had been through and meant.

    At the winner's media conference, Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton set the agenda for a new era in the America's Cup emphasising that holding the Trophy was a privilege not a right.

    It seemed that there had been some discussions about the shape of the new America's Cup, but little in the way of specifics other than the year and venue for the 36th Match.

    No surprise was the announcement of the next Challenger of Record, Circolo della Vela Sicilia (CVS) and its team Luna Rossa, which has a long and close association with New Zealand extending back to 2000.

    [From Lone Wolf - How Emirates Team New Zealand stunned the World]

    Liveline Chatter Feed from the Race Management System of the Final race day.

    8:19:56 TIM Good morning from Bermuda! It's Monday 26 June 2017
    8:20:37 TIM Race 9 of the 35th America's Cup starts at 14:12 ADT
    13:42:49 WND Wind 182 at 9.9 kn, 10.5 kn peak
    14:00:00 WND Wind 179 at 10.1 kn, 11.4 kn peak
    14:02:00 WND Wind 180 at 9.8 kn, 10.4 kn peak
    14:03:28 PRO USA port
    14:03:37 PRO NZL stbd
    14:03:39 PRO Course 6-F
    14:06:00 WND Wind 179 at 9.4 kn, 10.3 kn peak
    14:09:00 Race 9 (USA,NZL): Warning, 3:00 until start
    14:09:00 WND Wind 177 at 9.7 kn, 11.3 kn peak
    14:09:57 USA Began Entry
    14:09:59 USA Completed Entry
    14:10:03 NZL Began Entry
    14:10:05 NZL Completed Entry
    14:11:31 WND Wind 187 at 9.1 kn, 9.6 kn peak
    14:12:00 Race 9 (USA,NZL): Started
    14:12:00 NZL Crossed Start Line
    14:12:00 USA Crossed Start Line
    14:12:53 USA Rounded Mark 1, 0:53.6 after start
    14:12:57 NZL Rounded Mark 1, 0:04.2 behind leader
    14:15:01 WND Wind 193 at 8.4 kn, 9.8 kn peak
    14:15:22 NZL Rounded Mark 2, 3:22.1 after start
    14:15:27 USA Rounded Mark 2, 0:04.9 behind leader
    14:18:01 WND Wind 188 at 8.4 kn, 9.1 kn peak
    14:21:00 NZL Rounded Mark 3, 9:00.0 after start
    14:21:01 WND Wind 186 at 8.9 kn, 10.8 kn peak
    14:21:26 USA Rounded Mark 3, 0:26.2 behind leader
    14:22:23 PRO WG -
    14:24:01 WND Wind 181 at 9.1 kn, 10.0 kn peak
    14:24:22 NZL Rounded Mark 4, 12:22.5 after start
    14:24:57 USA Rounded Mark 4, 0:34.7 behind leader
    14:27:01 WND Wind 183 at 8.8 kn, 9.3 kn peak
    14:29:50 NZL Rounded Mark 5, 17:50.3 after start
    14:30:01 WND Wind 182 at 8.3 kn, 9.0 kn peak
    14:30:14 USA Rounded Mark 5, 0:23.7 behind leader
    14:32:43 NZL Rounded Mark 6, 20:43.7 after start
    14:33:01 WND Wind 187 at 8.7 kn, 9.6 kn peak
    14:33:22 USA Rounded Mark 6, 0:39.1 behind leader
    14:33:23 NZL Crossed Finish Line
    14:33:27 PRO NZL Finished: time 14:33:23.776, 21:23.776 after start
    14:34:18 USA Crossed Finish Line, 0:54.4 behind leader
    14:34:23 PRO USA Finished: time 14:34:18.190, 22:18.190 after start
    14:34:25 PRO Race 9 Terminated
    14:35:26 TIM NZL takes race 9 to win the 35th America's Cup
    14:36:45 TIM It's been an honor to be here. Thanks and congratulations to all!
    14:37:00 TIM Chatter out.

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