Emirates Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup on Monday, earning its first cup 14 years after losing it in a 7-1 victory. Now, enthusiasts are speculating how the team will change up the rules for the 36th challenge.
During the last America’s Cup race, the Kiwis lost an 8-1 lead over Oracle Team USA, who went on to win the title after the New Zealand team lost eight consecutive races.
“It was absolutely brutal for the team, and it was a hard pill to swallow,” Team New Zealand’s skipper, Glenn Ashby, who was the only member of that losing team on this year’s crew, told The New York Times. “For the sailors and all the other guys who are with the team, it is a great redemption and, I guess, a relief to right the wrongs of the last campaign.”
To survive, Team New Zealand and its chief executive, Grant Dalton, had to overcome challenges, including internal divisions and an early shortage of financing.
Some said that shortage led the team to get creative on a small budget. An American surfer emerged as one of “the unlikely heroes in the Kiwis' ruthless 7-1 pounding of Oracle Team USA in the Cup final off Bermuda,” said the New Zealand Herald.
Surfer Nick Bowers was quietly hired by Ashby as a “performance analyst” and moved with his wife and young family to Aukland two years ago. Bowers used cutting edge work with drones that gave Team New Zealand a significant design advantage, the paper said.
He designed special drones capable of flying alongside Team NZ's super-fast boat and gaining priceless footage on how the catamaran's revolutionary hydrofoils could be improved.
As winners, the New Zealand team will have an opportunity to draw up the rules for the next America’s Cup.
New Zealanders and their chief executive, Grant Dalton, seem eager to tighten the America’s Cup nationality rule — which now mandates only one member of onboard crew be from the country their boat purports to represents.
Emirates Team is comprised entirely of New Zealanders except for Ashby, who is Australian. Team Oracle, by contrast, has seven Australian members on its nine-person team.
One of the biggest considerations will be whether they stick to the foiling catamarans, the AC72s, or listen to the Luna Rossa Italian team, who advocate for monohulls and could be back in the next Cup as the Kiwis’ challenger of record, said another article in The New York Times.
However, the AC72s reach unprecedented speeds, attracting sponsorship for a financially-strapped team and a larger TV audience, speculated The (U.K.) Telegraph.