Jimmy Spithill's classy gesture after Team NZ clinch Cup

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Mar 2021, 5:40PM
Luna Rossa co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill. Photo / Getty
Luna Rossa co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill. Photo / Getty

Jimmy Spithill's classy gesture after Team NZ clinch Cup

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Mar 2021, 5:40PM

Early in the America's Cup match, Peter Burling came under fire for his performances in the pre-start in their clash against Luna Rossa.

But today, Burling produced a superb pre-start to seal a famous Cup victory.

The more comfortable Team New Zealand got in a racing environment, the better their all-around performance got and, in what was the final race of the series, Burling had the number of his Luna Rossa opposite Jimmy Spithill in the starting box.

Claiming the preferred side of the race course out of the start, Team New Zealand went on with the job to claim the America's Cup for the fourth time.

As Team New Zealand celebrated, Spithill addressed the race committee and thanked them for the event, before addressing his counterparts.

"Pete, if you can hear me, congrats, mate, to you and the whole team," Spithill said after the race.

"Full credit to Team New Zealand...they developed a fantastic package and deservedly champions.

"We need to go have a beer with the Kiwis," added the Aussie co-helmsman.

From the beginning of the race, it was clear both teams were trying to set up an entry onto the course on the right-hand side. A superbly sailed start and well executed tack immediately after the starting line saw the Kiwis take that desired side of the course and protect it on the opening leg of the race – tacking in the face of Luna Rossa when the first cross came.

While the right-hand side was preferred from the start, the shifty conditions meant it was a matter of connecting the best puffs to try and make gains. Luna Rossa sailed a good second leg, reading the conditions well and gaining ground on Team New Zealand.

But while they were gaining some ground in terms of metres, Team New Zealand found two seconds more on the second leg. Neither team rounded the gate particularly well, but with Luna Rossa sailing in the dirty air of Team New Zealand coming into the bottom mark, Team New Zealand were able to put some space between the two vessels.

Before long, a lead of less than 100m expanded to more than 300m midway through the third leg as Team New Zealand began to put the hammer down.

That showed in the gap between the boats at the halfway point, with Team New Zealand extending their lead threefold.

That lead only grew on each of the next two legs, with the defender locking away the Auld Mug in impressive fashion.

Gate margins

Gate 1: NZ 7sec
Gate 2: NZ 9sec
Gate 3: NZ 27sec
Gate 4: NZ 37sec
Gate 5: NZ 49sec
Final: NZ 46sec