Emirates Team New Zealand Triumphs in the Grand Final of the America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah

In a remarkable display of skill and consistency, Emirates Team New Zealand emerged victorious in the high-stakes Grand Final of the America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah, presented by NEOM. The event, characterized by its thrilling and tense atmosphere, witnessed Emirates Team New Zealand excel from start to finish, clinching a well-deserved win.

December 02, 2023. America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta Jeddah presented by NEOM, 29th Nov – 2nd Dec 2023. Race Day 3. Prizegiving.

The Red Sea set the stage for this spectacular event, offering challenging yet outstanding sailing conditions. With a steady breeze of 16-20 knots and a lumpy sea-state, the backdrop was as dramatic as the competition itself.

Tom Slingsby, Skipper of NYYC American Magic, praised the event for its incredible hospitality and sailing conditions, foreseeing Jeddah as a future hub for high-level sailing events. His sentiments were echoed by Sir Ben Ainslie, Team Principle of INEOS Britannia and the most decorated Olympic sailor, who lauded the event’s brilliant conditions and warm reception.

The Closing Ceremony marked more than the end of the regatta; it signified the emergence of Jeddah as a world-class venue for high-performance sailing. The Jeddah Yacht Club & Marina and the Saudi Sailing Federation have not only hosted the America’s Cup with exceptional efficiency but have also inspired a new generation of Saudi sailors, both girls and boys, to pursue the sport at an elite level.

On the water, the competition was fierce. Emirates Team New Zealand secured their spot in the Grand Final Match Race with an impressive track record, but they didn’t rest on their laurels. They continued to push the boundaries, gathering valuable data on race-craft and boat trim in the conditions. Despite a setback in Race 7, they made a remarkable comeback in Race 8, leading wire-to-wire for their fifth win in eight races.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, led by the sensational duo of Ruggero Tita and Marco Gradoni, secured their place in the Grand Final after a stunning performance in Race 7. However, technical issues with the boat’s electronics in the intense Red Sea heat put them at a disadvantage in the final match race against Emirates Team New Zealand.

The final showdown was a nail-biter, with Emirates Team New Zealand gaining an early advantage. The race remained incredibly close until the final windward mark, where Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli suffered a critical setback. Emirates Team New Zealand, with Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Blair Tuke, and Andy Maloney onboard, sailed flawlessly on the downwind leg, securing a popular and well-earned victory.

Peter Burling, reflecting on the win, expressed immense satisfaction with the team’s performance, while Blair Tuke highlighted the AC40 class’s potential and the regatta’s role in promoting the sport. For Ruggero Tita, the event was a mix of pride in their performance and a hint of regret at the close loss.

As the event concluded, it was clear that Jeddah had made its mark on the world of high-performance sailing. With the 37th America’s Cup on the horizon in Barcelona in 2024, this regatta in the Red Sea will be remembered not just for its winners but also for its role in enhancing the global sailing landscape.

Sailing, the city of Jeddah, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have all emerged as winners, but the trophy rightfully went home with Emirates Team New Zealand, crowning them champions of a truly visionary and historic event.






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