New Zealand won the America’s Cup on Monday, laying the ghost of 2013 with a crushing victory over Oracle Team USA.The gritty Kiwi challengers, led by 26-year-old helmsman Peter Burling, downed the defenders 7-1 in the first to seven points series.“We’re all ecstatic about what we have managed to achieve and we are on top of the world,” Burling said.“It’s going to be a good night.”Burling supplanted Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill as the youngest helmsman to claim the oldest international trophy in sport.Spithill was 30 when he steered the USA to victory in 2010, and he propelled their remarkable comeback from 1-8 down to a 9-8 triumph over New Zealand four years ago.In fact, New Zealand needed eight race wins to get the victory, having started at minus-one thanks to the USA’s topping the standings in round-robin qualifying.But no obstacle was too much for Burling and his young crew on an innovative catamaran that featured a radical cycle-powered grinding system to power its hydraulics.They deserve it’They stunned Team USA, backed by tech billionaire Larry Ellison, by sweeping all four races of the opening weekend, leaving the defenders scrambling to find answers in the five lay days before racing resumed.It did seem the USA had found some extra speed when the teams split two races on Saturday, but the writing was on the wall after Burling and his crew outsailed the USA in two dominant victories on Sunday.“Full credit to Team New Zealand. What a series. They really made fewer mistakes and they fully deserve it so our hat’s off to them,” Spithill said.New Zealand claimed the Cup for the third time, after victories with Black Magic in 1995 and 2000.Only four countries — the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland — have ever won the coveted trophy, named for the schooner America which won a race round the Isle of Wight in 1851 that was the birth of yachting’s most prestigious competition.New Zealand’s victory lends intrigue to the future of the Cup. Tradition holds that the defenders, in negotiations with a challenger of record, set the rules for the next edition.New Zealand conspicuously declined to sign on to a framework announced earlier this year by Team USA and four other syndicates that called for the regatta to stick with similar class foiling catamarans and to be contested every two years.
TagsNew Zealand win 35th America’s Cup