01 November 2017 / Believe Magazine
The America’s Cup is back in Auckland after Emirates Team New Zealand crushed the defenders 7-1 on the Great Sound in Bermuda. In the first come-from-behind win in the 35th America’s Cup Match, the Kiwi boat was simply too quick for the Americans, who held the briefest of leads before being taken down and out.
On match point going into Race 9 Peter Burling lost a tight fight at the start to trail around mark one.
But when both boats gybed for the first time, the writing was on the wall for Jimmy Spithill.
Aotearoa straight away showed better speed downwind to lead around mark two, a five-second advantage blowing out to 26 seconds at the end of the first upwind leg.
Now came the canny sailing from the Kiwis, the afterguard taking the low-risk option, carefully covering the American boat and prepared to give away some distance to maintain control.
The lead began to grow and by the time Burling took Emirates Team New Zealand over the line they were 55 seconds to the good.
For the first time, the crew showed some real emotion as they shook hands, embraced and congratulated each other and their supporters.
Time for the champagne moment and never will it have tasted sweeter, washing away the bitterness that’s lingered since the crushing disappointment in San Francisco four years ago.
This was revenge and redemption for Emirates Team New Zealand, delivering a David versus Goliath victory with classic Kiwi ingenuity and creativity.
Then came the victory parades as New Zealanders showed their pride and support in the team's success.