America’s Cup 2021: Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling reacts to retaining the Auld Mug on home waters

Peter Burling knows that winning feeling, but down the line, he might look back on his latest triumph as his most memorable.

In front of thousands of fans on the water and in the America’s Cup village, Burling and his Team New Zealand crew sailed to victory on home water in the 36th America’s Cup.

After leading the charge in the team’s challenge in Bermuda in 2017, Burling was again at the helm as the crew defended the Auld Mug, topping Luna Rossa 7-3 in the match.

While the immediate aftermath of a win is never the best time to reflect upon it, Burling said the situation was hard to beat.

“Winning it has all the emotion of that and definitely an incredible time in Bermuda, but I don’t think you could think of a much more special environment than this with a couple thousand boats out every day it seemed, the village absolutely packed and people everywhere,” Burling said.

“To do something like this on home waters is something we’re incredibly proud of.”

The match was won on Wednesday afternoon, with only one race needed in the day for Team New Zealand to secure the victory.

The race was won largely at the start – as many of the races in the series were – as Team New Zealand secured the preferred side of the course and were able to play the conditions to sail to an emphatic win.

It was clear that both teams were eyeing the same side out of the starting box, and seemed fitting that Burling would sail the ideal start in a race with so much on the line, given the criticism he had received for his performances in that area earlier in the series.

“It’s absolutely unreal,” Burling said after the race.

“Just coming back to the chase boat and seeing all the people involved with this campaign over three or so years, and how many people are out here supporting – we’ve had messages from everyone from the Prime Minister to high school kids to just about anyone you can think of.

“It means the world to us as a team and we’re absolutely blown away by what we’ve been able to achieve.”

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