Emirates Team New Zealand Win Four of First Five Races
Emirates Team New Zealand is dominating in the America’s Cup finals, trouncing defending champion Oracle in four of the first five races. Oracle was so defeated after race five on Wednesday (NZT) that the team called their sole timeout of the series, postponing race six until Thursday to allow them time to regroup.
The America’s Cup is renowned as a remarkably unfair competition – there’s no spending cap, so money often wins, and the winner gets to decide both the location and rules of the next Cup. However, Emirates Team New Zealand is proving a force to reckon with in this year’s Cup despite being the only team in the competition without multimillionaire owner.
New Zealand’s dominance comes down to more than just sailing nous – it’s all about design. The team achieved their edge in the competition by mastering the art of foiling (elevating the boat’s hull out of the water by balancing on a pair of L-shaped boards), reducing the boat’s drag and boosting speed by up to 30%.
Without the benefit of a wealthy owner, Emirates Team New Zealand had to gain financial support from commercial partners to be able to take part in this year’s competition.
With the America’s Cup costing each time around USD$100 million to take part, Emirates Team New Zealand raised USD$50 million by selling ad space on its boat to international corporate sponsors. The New Zealand government gave them USD$29 million in the hopes a win would economically benefit the country long-term.
The remaining money came from a group of eight wealthy individuals and rival team, Luna Rossa, who purchased the New Zealand team’s boat design. The money not only allowed Emirates Team New Zealand to take part in the Cup, but design and build a second, lighter boat that would ultimately beat Luna Rossa in the challenger’s series.