26 Aug 2013

Team NZ secures Louis Vuitton Cup

6:28 pm on 26 August 2013

Team New Zealand have won the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to challenge for the America's Cup.

The New Zealanders dominated the best-of-13 Americas Cup Challengers Final, beating Luna Rossa by 3min 20sec in Monday's race to take the series 7-1 on San Francisco Bay.

Team New Zealand will now meet Oracle in the America's Cup, which begins on 8 September.

Skipper Dean Barker says he's proud of his team's achievement in winning the Louis Vuitton Cup but believes there is still room for plenty of improvement before contesting the main event.

"Stage one is out of the way, now we've got to focus on the big job, two weeks to go there's a lot still to do," he says.

New Zealand's last challenge for the America's Cup was in 2007, when it lost by five races to two against the Swiss Alinghi syndicate.

Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton says they came up short by just a fraction then.

He says it's hard to tell how fast Oracle's boat is and New Zealand will just have to be as prepared as possible.

"We have to make sure that this wasn't our best performance; that we keep that for the cup itself."

Mr Dalton says if New Zealand wins the America's Cup, they will use the defender's right to set rules to force teams in the next event to use sailors from their home countries.

Penny Whiting, who runs a sailing school in Auckland and is currently in San Francisco for the races, says New Zealand should brace for another round of America's Cup Fever.

"I think that New Zealand will be swept up in the glory of Emirates Team New Zealand doing so well. They're not bored and tired of it, New Zealand is a nation that loves the sporting event, they love winners," she says.