Dubai :Racing in its second home, Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai yesterday, 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 lustre 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.
It was also announced 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 organising 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.
End of an era
The finish gun yesterday signalled 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 high-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, 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.
“We kinda saved our best till 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.”
James Spithill 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.”