Racing in its second home, Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai today, defeating the USA's BMW Oracle Racing in two straight races.
Today's victory concluded an incredible performance by the team from Auckland, New Zealand, which over two years won four of five Louis Vuitton Trophy events and finished second in the other.
Adding extra luster to their performance, Dean Barker and his Kiwi team came from behind to win their last four races in Dubai, including the two today against BMW Oracle Racing, the outstanding performer during two weeks of match racing off the Dubai International Marine Club.
Today also saw the announcement that Louis Vuitton Malletier will continue its sponsorship of the America's Cup and challengers for the Cup.
"We are thrilled to announce today the continuation of our 30-year partnership with the America's Cup. Having met with the organizing team several times, we believe that the 34th edition will be the best America's Cup yet
," said Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton Malletier.
The finish gun today signaled the end of 20 years of competition in the America's Cup, Louis Vuitton Cup and Louis Vuitton Trophy for the International America's Cup Class. Introduced 20 years ago, the boats competed in five America's Cup events.
Serenaded by boat horns and sirens the Kiwi crew were hugging, cheering and hi-fiving for a minute and a half before the American boat finished.
As Yves Carcelle boarded their boat with the obligatory celebratory magnums and jeroboams of Moët & Chandon champagne, the New Zealanders hoisted a giant national ensign in their foretriangle.
"It's been a tough couple of weeks,"
said Grant Dalton, the managing director of Emirates Team New Zealand who also races on the boat, his normally serious face split by a huge smile.
"We kinda saved our best 'til last. Oracle have been the form boat for the whole regatta. We came out today with determination knowing that on our day we are good enough but we would really need to produce. The guys in the back of the boat did a real nice job today. The Oracle guys are a class act and they sailed really well.
"It was shifty today. Both times we got the side we wanted and bless me, it went the other way. It happens a bit that way. We launched in that first race straight into a great big right shift. It wasn't our intention. But we never let go. It's a hallmark of this side."
Asked about the secret to his team's success, Dalton said: "It's a team that lives on the smell of an oily rag. Everyone buys into the culture and the way we operate. We're not frivolous at all. You can't spend a hundred dollars without a requisition order for me. And in a funny sort of way that helps to build our culture.
"We're proud that we represent New Zealand and we're good mates. We've built that over the years. It takes a long time to get those combinations. Its jelling for us now. In the new era if we can hold onto that culture, and we will and we can, we can take it into our new projects."
said: "We're obviously disappointed. Ripping a spinnaker and having a problem when it didn't hoist, helped put us on the back foot. But full credit to Team New Zealand. They did a good job and all we can do is take our hats off to them."
Race One, Emirates Team New Zealand def BMW Oracle Racing, 00:17
- New Zealand's Dean Barker landed the opening punch in his race with James Spithill. Just over two minutes before the start, with both boats almost stalled in a dialup, Barker turned sharply away. The Kiwi boat's stern struck the side of the BMWOR boat. Spithill was penalized for failing to keep clear. The American boat went up the right side of the course, shutting out New Zealand attacks until the weather mark where Barker turned inside and drew almost level. The Kiwis kept the pressure on all the way down the run but made a slow mark rounding with their spinnaker momentarily in the water. On the beat, New Zealand went out to the port layline while the Americans worked the shifts up the middle of the course. With a 150 metre lead, Spithill unwound his penalty but left the door open for Barker to again get inside at the top mark and claim the right side of the course on the run to the finish. The Americans had it won until the Kiwis gybed into a shift and more pressure to overtake and win.
Race Two, Emirates Team New Zealand def BMW Oracle Racing, 01:37
- The Kiwis claimed the pin end of the start and had a small lead up most of the course but Oracle enjoyed the benefit of the right side and overtook to lead by 11 seconds at the top mark. However, they lost ground when their spinnaker was stuck in the hatch for vital seconds during the hoist. Barker was able to get right on the run and stalked the Americans, helped further when they had to shed a ripped spinnaker in a gybe peel. With better pressure on the right, Barker kept closing on the run and crossed clear ahead on port tack just before the leeward mark. New Zealand covered their opponent and worked the shifts for the next two legs to finish 350 meters in front. Their victory confirmed Emirates Team New Zealand as the winners of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai.
The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai is under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, the principal sponsor of the event.
Louis Vuitton Trophy Website - http://www.louisvuittontrophy.com