The New Zealand team finally let their emotions run over after making a stunning comeback to win Race 8 of the America’s Cup Match. And two more wins on Tuesday will see them defend Auld Mug.
After Team NZ failed midway through the second half following an error by helmsman Peter Burling, Luna Rossa had a huge lead and looked like the inevitable winner of the race.
But the spin came in the third leg when it was Luna Rossa’s turn to shed their screen in bright and inconsistent conditions, allowing the Kiwis to not only catch up but slide to win by nearly four minutes.
The rollercoaster race ends with Team NZ members aboard the Te Rehutai who can be heard giving off a relieved – and colorful – celebration as they cross the finish line.
“I’m very happy with it. F ***,” a crew member said on the broadcast.
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American yacht and sailing commentator Ken Read says it’s an emotion we’ve never seen so far from Team NZ.
“That’s the emotion that comes out of the Kiwi,” Read said in the official Copa America broadcast. “It’s an emotion I’ve never seen before from a Kiwi.”
“You think the fans are relieved? What about the crew out there,” added fellow commentator Stephen McIvor.
After the race, Team NZ’s foil controller, Blair Tuke, was also excited by the “unrealistic resistance”.
“Yeah, wow what a race,” said Tuke. “Definitely one to defend against. It was a very unreal resistance from the people over there.
Obviously we made a pretty costly mistake spinning right behind them on the first downwind and out of foil but we got them back pretty quickly, and then set sail with a great race from there.
“They made a mistake on one of their top-scoring tacks … and we never looked back.”
When asked if he had sailed in such a race before, Tuke said: “Maybe not with a lot of people watching. It’s not real.
“Another big attendance even on a weekday here,” he added. Obviously we finished in the top position so we were right by the crowd below Motuihe. It was a few races and we were in the wrong position there in real low end conditions, which made it even more difficult.
All boys go there till the end. When you have a race where you do a lot of takeoffs like that and the big onscreen control changes, it’s tough for boys. So much effort by the young men.
The NZ team also beat the previous race by a convincing margin, showing a significant difference in speed and finishing in what was the first lead change from regatting so far.
The defenders lead the match 5-3 in the first series through seven. Race 9 will take place at 4:15 p.m. today.
Towards a Cup race?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about taking the ferry, train, or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.
• Don’t forget to scan the QR code with the NZ COVID Tracer app when taking public transportation and entering America’s Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.