HAMILTON, Bermuda, June 26 (Reuters) - New Zealand won the America’s Cup on Monday, almost white-washing the U.S. holders with a revolutionary boat and a new superstar sailor to avenge a humbling defeat four years ago.
A dominant Emirates Team New Zealand claimed international sport’s oldest trophy by 7-1 in Bermuda’s Great Sound, with 26-year-old Peter Burling becoming the youngest helmsman to win sailing’s biggest prize.
In doing so, Burling usurped New Zealand’s nemesis, Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, who won the cup in 2010 aged 30 and was hoping for a third successive victory for the syndicate bankrolled by Oracle founder Larry Ellison.
Burling was congratulated by his jubilant team mates and support crew after their catamaran crossed the line.
The America’s Cup, named after the schooner “America” which won it in 1851 off the south coast of England, has only been held by four countries so far, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.
New Zealand won the right to take on the U.S. by beating four other “challengers”, using cycling sailors known as “cyclors” to provide pedal power to control their foiling 50-foot (15 metre) catamaran’s vast “wing” sail and hydrofoils. (Reporting by Tessa Walsh; Editing by Alexander Smith)