New Zealand have reclaimed the America's Cup by almost white-washing the US holders 7-1 in a first-to-seven final. New Zealand's win means Peter Burling has become the youngest ever helmsman to secure the prize.
New Zealand dominated Monday's final of the 35th America's Cup, reclaiming sailing's most prestigious prize and international sport's oldest trophy.
Emirates Team New Zealand defeated the Oracle Team USA 7-1 in a first-to-seven final in Bermuda's Great Sound, showing its supremacy over American rivals in a battle of wits and technology.
"We're all ecstatic about what we have managed to achieve and we are on top of the world, it's going to be a good night," helmsman Peter Burling said.
At the age of 26, Burling became the youngest helmsman ever to secure sailing's grandest prize in the competition's 166-year history. He takes that honor from US captain, Jimmy Spithill, who was 30 years old when he first won the America's Cup in 2010.
Spithill, however, was gracious in defeat. "We're disappointed obviously but first of all full credit to Team New Zealand, what a series," he said. "They really were a class above in this America's Cup... They outsailed us and had a better boat... really well done."
Atonement for the Kiwi sailors
New Zealand was on a clear mission to wipe out the pain inflicted in 2013, when the US overcame a 8-1 deficit to take claim the America's Cup with a 9-8 victory. That crushing defeat is still seen today as one of the most extraordinary collapses in world sport.
"It was absolutely brutal for the team. It was a hard pill to swallow," said Australian Glenn Ashby, the only non-Kiwi on the crew and the only remaining member from the team's crushing 2013 defeat. "For myself and a lot of the other guys that are with the team this time around, it is a great redemption and just a relief to right the wrongs of the last campaign. We obviously learned a lot from that campaign."
A technological marvel
New Zealand won the right to atonement and take on the US after defeating four "challengers."
Key to the Kiwi team's success was its revolutionary new catamaran, using cycling sailors, or "cyclors," to provide pedal power rather than arm power to control the boat's vast "wing" sail and hydrofoils.
By peddling as fast as possible, New Zealand's "cyclors" were able to provide enough fuel to the system to allow the catamaran to effectively perform pirouette maneuvers on the water.
The sight of the New Zealand team's boat skimming over Bermuda's crystal clear water drew in a large new audience for the sport.
dm/jm (Reuters, AP)