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America’s Cup NZ 2021 Roundup

  • by: Conor McKeon
  • On: 1, Apr 2021
4 min read

The 36th America’s Cup has come to an exciting close, with Emirates Team New Zealand claiming overall victory in 2021 for the fourth time. If anything is to come of this year's cup, its design and innovation will always be at the forefront of these race wins.  

Why Team New Zealand Won 

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli fought until the very last race. Unfortunately, it was not enough to knock the multi-winning Team New Zealand from the top spot. Team New Zealand lifted the intensity after the start of Race ten taking their fifth race in a row and secure the title. 


The communication throughout the race was impeccable between Burling, Tuke, and Ashby, allowing them to sail their own race, grasping every opportunity for them to put pressure on and gain the lead. 

Unfortunately, race 10 was postponed twice as a result of unfavourable winds. Team New Zealand did not shy away from the challenge with a quick tack to the right immediately out of the start gate. 

Both teams had a large budget and fantastic expert crews, but Team New Zealand's boat was slightly faster, meaning they took the edge. Team New Zealand’s boat had smaller foils along with the flatter hull that meant it minimised the drag when cutting through the water. While Luna Rossa’s larger foils certainly had their advantages in terms of stability, they were slightly behind on speed. 

Race Highlights

America’s Cup Match Scoreboard (wins-losses)

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 5-3

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA): 3-5

The first few races started as predicted with the team that wins the start of the race, winning at the end. With the wind apps not delivering great, it was not off to a good start. The America’s Cup gained momentum on the fourth day of the regatta and really increased excitement. This rollercoaster of a day included the Italian team Luna Rossa leading the second race by an outstanding four minutes only to make a tactical error and be defeated by New Zealand in the same margin. 

Race 8 saw an early start with Team Luna Rossa in the lead. The match racing tactics were soon replaced with wind seeking to stay under the better pressure. The Italians continued to take first place and by the end of the first downwind leg, built a lead of 2500m. New Zealand’s speed then came into play and with the race being shortened to 5 legs and the wind dropping, the team made a phenomenal comeback win of 3:55.

America’s Cup History

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport, establishing 45 years before the Olympics in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron. The schooner America who was sailing for the New York Yacht Club beat the Royal Yacht Squadron and claimed its 100 Guinea Cup. Thus, America’s Cup was born.

 Since the 1920s, the America’s Cup race has taken place every four years been between one defending vessel and one challenging vessel. Each competing boat must be designed and built solely in the country it is competing from. 

The America’s Cup attracts some of the worlds most talented sailors including: 

  • New Zealander Russell Coutts
  • Britain’s Sir Thomas Lipton
  • America’s Tom Blackaller
  • New Zealand’s Sir Peter Blake

These sailors are backed by some of the most successful businessmen. The cost of running a team is roughly $2 million. 

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