Team New Zealand have defended the America’s Cup after beating Luna Rossa in clinical fashion in Auckland this afternoon.
Team NZ wrapped up the series 7-3 in the first race this afternoon – their fifth-straight win against Jimmy Spithill and the Italians after trading races last week.
Race 10 of the finals was initially delayed this afternoon as race organisers adjusted the course to match the winds blowing across Course A on the Waitematā Harbour but, as it has in recent days, once racing got going, it was a thrilling affair.
Kiwis packed out the America’s Cup village to its maximum capacity on Auckland's waterfront this afternoon despite it being a workday to support Team NZ and Te Rehutai delivered.
Unlike most races so far this series, Team NZ instantly tacked at the start line to split the two AC75s for the start of the race with Te Rehutai headed to the right side the course.
The move proved effective with Team NZ leading at the first cross and immediately tacking in front of the Italians to retain the right side of the course.
The second cross was much closer and this time Team NZ held their course and headed to the left side.
The decision was another masterstroke with the Kiwis building a 100m lead at the first gate which translated to a seven second advantage.
Team NZ maintained that lead for much of the first downwind leg of the race before it stretched at the second gate after Luna Rossa made a poor move around the marker.
On the third leg, Te Rehutai once again went to the right side of the course and put some serious metres on the Italians as they attempted to recover from their error.
The surge saw the Kiwis push out to a 300 metre advantage and at the third gate the deficit was 27 seconds for Jimmy Spithill and the Italians.
That gap doubled on the second downwind leg with the Kiwis flying along a patch of stronger wind, adding another 10 seconds to their lead at the fourth gate.
From there, Burling and company cruised to the finish line, keeping their communications clear and calm as they gave Spithill and the Italians no chance to come back. Instead, the Italians had fallen even further back – 49 seconds behind.
As Team NZ crossed the finish line, roars went up all around Auckland from the jam-packed vantage points and fan zones while heartbroken Italian fans applauded the efforts of their own too.
On the water, Team NZ finally slowed down their AC75 to a crawl before embracing each other and celebrating.
Luna Rossa crossed the finish line 46 seconds later to the sounds of a party already starting in the City of Sails.