So there you have it. The final battle in Bermuda for the Auld Mug is over with Emirates Team New Zealand becoming the winners of the 35th America's Cup!
Peter Burling follows in Russell Coutts' footsteps to take the America’s Cup back to New Zealand – only the second man to do so and the youngest at just 26 year’s old.
The Kiwi team proved too strong for Oracle Team USA, taking the win by six points with a final score of 7-1. Jimmy Spithill appeared, unsurprisingly, disappointed and somewhat emotional about the loss but praised his competitors, commenting to BT Sport: "what an incredible job by the New Zealand team”.
The jubilation of this win for the Kiwis will be felt throughout the nation as the devastation and disappointment over the team's surprising loss four years ago has remained a prominent memory in many fans' minds.
Emirates Team New Zealand performed well in the Louis Vuitton World Series events but only enough to secure them third place overall last November, with Oracle Team USA in second and Land Rover BAR in first. In a race where "there is no second" and for a team on a much smaller budget compared to the other teams, it was looking like a mighty big challenge for these "underdogs" to win the cup. However, with clever engineering and a team of highly skilled people, including an on board crew of Olympic gold medalists and sailing champion, Glenn Ashby, spectators have had the pleasure of witnessing, not only this team's exciting progression, but an evolution in sailing.
It's fair to say the Kiwi team stole the limelight from the start. They creating debate about the innovative use of bicycles as an alternative to arm powered grinders and for chose to stay in New Zealand while the other teams settled in and began practicing against one another in Bermuda.
When the racing began, Emirates Team New Zealand quickly gained a reputation for rarely giving a lead away as their speedy design and team work earned them multiple victories. However it wasn't all plain sailing. Nobody will forget the dramatic capsize that saw the Kiwi boat catapult forward and endure significant damage in their match against Land Rover BAR. It threw three of the crew from the boat and left the others suspended 15 meters high in the air. The damage to the boat looked intense but within 24 hours of round-the-clock work, the boat was up and running again and they went on to win the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoffs just five days later. From there on there was no stopping them. Winning almost every match against the American Team, Emirates Team New Zealand made their 35th America's Cup victory look easy!
While the "when and where" of the next America’s Cup is unconfirmed, one thing remains certain and that’s the impact the Kiwis have had on the future design of America’s Cup boats. The 36th America's Cup will see yet more innovation and, no doubt, more speed...and we can't wait!