Emirates Team New Zealand won eight matches against America's Cup holders «» , Oracle Team USA, becoming champions of this prestigious regatta.
In conference after the first four matches, which had not produced a single win for the U.S., Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill hoped for a five-day break in the competition schedule that gave the team and its technical staff time to work on strategy and try to get the catamaran up to speed as much as possible. Much work had been done: new rudder pens had been fitted, and the boat's weight had been reduced significantly by eliminating unnecessary equipment, such as a stern pedal drive that had been installed shortly before the start of the event following the example of the New Zealanders.
Although they lost the first race due to a large number of committed errors, Jimmy Spithill's team managed to win the subsequent match with a minimum margin of victory, coming to the finish 11 seconds ahead of their rivals. Oracle's fans cheered, saying they could still win the match by turning a tide in a seemingly hopeless situation as they had once done in 2013 when the USA lost to New Zealand 8-1 but managed to upgrade their catamaran so badly that they caught up and overtook them on points to an improbable 9-8 victory.
On Sunday 25 June, the Americans put themselves in exactly the same situation as four years ago in San Francisco. Numerous mistakes prevented them from winning the two races that day and the score was 6-1 in favor of the Kiwis. The latter were only one point away from victory. Unfortunately for Jimmy Spithill and his team, there was no miracle on Monday. By the start of the ninth race both teams came out clean. The Americans crossed the start line just ahead of the New Zealanders, but by the second mark lost their lead. By the third mark the advantage of the Kiwis was 26 seconds, and by the fourth increased to 34 seconds. Peter Burling's team led throughout the race and won by 55 seconds.
«We probably don't fully understand how important this win is to the country," said ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton. - I was told people were standing in traffic at four in the morning to get to work and be able to watch the competition».
The team suffered a major disappointment in 2013, missing out on a long-awaited win from under their noses. According to Peter Burling, it was that loss to the Americans four years ago that was a major lesson for the Kiwis. The result of that lesson is the current victory, whose main sponsor - unexpectedly - was Swiss-Italian businessman Matteo De Nora.
» De Nora began funding the New Zealand team after a disappointing performance in the 31st America's Cup «in 2003 against Alinghi.
The microphones on board broadcast the frustration-filled cry of one of the crew: «It's a bloody boat!»
De Nora decided the Kiwis were capable of more. He began paying the crew's bills, at first just keeping it afloat. De Nora even used his own superyacht Imagine to transfer the team. He used his influence in financial circles to convince a group of private investors to invest in the team.
Like Team NZ's other major benefactor, Auckland businessman Stephen Tyndall, De Nora prefers not to advertise the size of his contribution to the team. «But after Team NZ won their 35th America's Cup» team CEO Grant Dalton admitted the contribution is very, very substantial.
«There are a lot of people behind this win, but most of all Matteo de Nora, who has walked with the team through fire and water and believed in everything we do. New Zealand are indebted to him for this victory».
«After San Francisco, we did a pretty tough survey and identified 20 points that we needed to change," Dalton continued. - One of those points was that we had to invest in the technology and the people that support it. We also decided to look at the younger generation of sailors. Peter Berling was one of them».
As Cup advocates, ETNZ will have the opportunity to change the rules of this oldest yachting competition.
«It is important to make the next America's Cup affordable, but we must also remember that this is the America's Cup, one of the top regattas, not a small beach regatta. It will never be cheap»," said the New Zealand team principal.
One of the New Zealanders' rivals in the 36th Cup has already been announced: it is Italy's Luna Rossa.