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March 18, 2021

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Home » Sports » Sailing

Team New Zealand hails ‘rocketship’

Team New Zealand thanked its designers and engineers for creating a “rocketship” of a yacht that secured the America’s Cup yesterday but admitted there was some trepidation as to how the boat would perform at the start of the match.

TNZ wrapped up a 7-3 victory over Luna Rossa with a 46-second victory in race 10, savoring a triumphant defense of the ‘Auld Mug’ in home waters, four years after reclaiming it with victory over Oracle Team USA in Bermuda.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen when we got off the start line on race one of the America’s Cup,” TNZ’s trimmer Glenn Ashby told reporters.

“Really the whole way through, you wake up every morning thinking what’s the day going to bring.

“We had a rocketship of a boat (but) it took us a little while to work out the modes against these (Luna Rossa) guys over here. They probably worked out our modes maybe earlier than we did and they certainly used their strengths that they had.

“So for us to come through in the end was really down to a fantastic design team and engineering shore team.

“Yes, we had to sail the boat but we also had to get around the track well.”

Along with Ashby, helmsman Peter Burling soaked up his second America’s Cup win after piloting TNZ to the 7-1 win in Bermuda.

The 30-year-old Olympic gold medalist found it hard to compare the victories four years apart but revelled in the cruise back to shore as a fleet of spectator boats escorted ‘Te Rehutai’ to the harbor.

“To see the way COVID-19 has changed the normality of the way we live, to be able to still have an event like this is full credit to everyone that lives here, the government and for everyone trying to keep our country COVID-free,” he said.

It was also a triumph for veteran team manager Grant Dalton, who revived New Zealand’s America’s Cup program after the team’s failed defense in 2003.

Dalton took the country to the brink of success at the 2007 and 2013 America’s Cups before the long-awaited breakthrough in Bermuda.

“It’s really a big deal here, I’m very proud. Bermuda was a watershed moment but it’s so much better as we’re home,” said the 63-year-old. “It is a big moment but it’s a relief too that we got it done. It’ll sink in as the days go by but it’s back to work pretty quickly, I’d imagine.”


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