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America’s Cup 2017, the cup returns to New Zealand

The New Zealanders take revenge on Oracle, although Ellison tried to turn the tables

Home race America’s Cup 2017, the cup returns to New Zealand
America’s Cup 2017, the cup returns to New Zealand

The defender changes, but not the music. The winner of the America's Cup 2013, Larry Ellison, is not that different from Ernesto Bertarelli, the owner of Alinghi. Also super-rich, he has a great desire to change things: surprisingly he decides on a new location for the new challenge. And he chooses Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. Then, in order to encourage (theoretically) the début of other syndicates, he has a smaller catamaran than the AC72 designed, with a crew of just eight men, the AC62 that convinces the teams to begin preparations. 

It is just a flash in a pan, because Ellison is not entirely convinced by the new developments introduced and, in April 2015, the defender presents a new boat for the event. It is the AC50, ‘just’ 14.50 metres long and with six sailors on board. Patrizio Bertelli - disappointed - says his goodbyes and withdraws Luna Rossa's candidacy.

Only five syndicates take part in the Louis Vuitton Cup, which begins at the end of May 2017: the old hats Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand, the ‘Japanese’ of Soft Bank Team Japan led by Kiwi Dean Barker, the French Groupama Team France and the revenant Brits of Land Rover BAR – led by the legend of the Olympic classes Ben Ainslie – who won the series of regattas in preparation for the America’s Cup World Series.

Revenge is accomplished

The months spent in the water are now over: only two round robins before the semi-finals, where the New Zealanders impose themselves over the Brits at 5 to 2 while the Swedes have the upper hand over the Japanese with 5 to 4. Emirates Team New Zealand has changed so many men to forget the San Francisco disaster. The helmsman is Peter Burling, the tactician Glenn Ashby: very talented youths, who are well-known, fearless and motivated by Grant Dalton, the master on the dinghy.

The Louis Vuitton Cup ends once again in Auckland after a predictable final that ends with 5 to 2 for the Kiwis. So Oracle Team once again faces Emirates Team New Zealand, just like in 2013 but the series that begins on 17th June does not provide the same thrills: the defender does its best but rarely makes it hard enough for the challenger, despite the latter having started out with a penalty point. It ends 7 to 1 and is a deliverance for a country that had been shocked by the 2013 disaster. For edition number 36, we will be going back to New Zealand, in the spring of 2021, to try to tear the trophy away from those who know the most about defending it and winning it. Among the challengers will be Luna Rossa Pirelli: a taste of old, of glory, of the America's Cup.

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