Team New Zealand

This article is about a yachting team. For the roller derby team, see Roller Derby Team New Zealand. For national teams of New Zealand, see Sport in New Zealand § New Zealand national teams.
Team New Zealand

Team New Zealand Limited
Yacht club Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Established 1993
Nation New Zealand
Team principal(s) Grant Dalton
Skipper Glenn Ashby[1]
Notable sailors Rob Waddell
Adam Beashel
Notable victories 1995 America's Cup
2000 America's Cup
1995 Louis Vuitton Cup
2007 Louis Vuitton Cup
2013 Louis Vuitton Cup
Louis Vuitton Pacific Series
Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland
Sail no. Boat name
NZL–32 NZL 32
NZL–82 NZL 82
NZL–84 NZL 84
NZL–92 NZL 92
NZL–5 Aotearoa

Team New Zealand (since 2007, with sponsorship by Emirates airline, known as Emirates Team New Zealand or ETNZ) is a sailing team based in Auckland, New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Team New Zealand has become a household name in their home country following their consecutive wins in the America's Cup in 1995 and 2000. In doing this, they became the first team from a country outside the United States to win and successfully defend the America's Cup.


Three challenges were launched before the founding of Team New Zealand, all of these backed by Michael Fay.[2] New Zealand Challenge competed in the 1987 Louis Vuitton Cup, the 1988 America's Cup and the 1992 Louis Vuitton Cup.


Following the 1992 competition, Michael Fay withdrew from backing the New Zealand challenges and a new effort under the leadership of Peter Blake and Alan Sefton began putting together a team, raising funds and gaining support for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.[3] Team New Zealand Limited was established as a registered company in 1993[4]

1995: Black Magic

Main article: 1995 America's Cup

In 1995, TNZ stunned the world, beating Team Dennis Conner 5–0 in a "blackwash" off San Diego, California[5] after winning the right to challenge in the Louis Vuitton Cup. Their boats were fast, they had an experienced crew led by skipper Russell Coutts, and they were ably led by Sir Peter Blake. As NZL 32 approached the finish line on the last race, sailing commentator Pete Montgomery made the now famous line "The America's Cup is now New Zealand's cup!"[6]

The winning yacht, NZL 32, was shipped back to New Zealand and given to the Te Papa Museum, and is now housed in an extension to the northern end of the National Maritime Museum in Auckland as part of a permanent exhibition, Blue Water, Black Magic, about Sir Peter Blake.[7][8]

2000: "Still New Zealand's Cup"

TNZ (NZL 60) beat Italy's Prada Challenge (Luna Rossa) 5–0 in the 2000 match held on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. On crossing the finish line in the final race, commentator Peter Montgomery exclaimed "The America's Cup is still New Zealand's cup!!" – echoing his comment in 1995 America's Cup.

2003: "Loyal"; Defeat

In 2003, Team New Zealand's eight-year reign ended after they were defeated 5–0 by Swiss-based challenger Alinghi. TNZ dubbed their campaign the "Loyal" campaign, featuring a Silver fern flag with the word "Loyal" and an existing song of the same name by New Zealand musician Dave Dobbyn. This was largely due to the Swiss boat featuring many of the afterguard members from TNZ's previous campaigns (notably Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth) which, along with a fast boat and a lack of reliability aboard TNZ's NZL 82, contributed to the win.

2007: Emirates Team New Zealand

NZL-92 returning to port in Valencia during the America's Cup regatta

In 2007, the re-branded Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup and advanced to the 32nd America's Cup against defenders Alinghi. Team New Zealand lost the series 2–5 to Alinghi, the last by a single second.


In late 2003, TNZ announced their intention to challenge Alinghi at the 2007 Valencia America's Cup, with Emirates on board as title sponsor, and Grant Dalton as Team Boss. Dean Barker skippered a more international team than ever before. TNZ were among the "big four" syndicates leading up to the 2007 Cup. The big four consisted of TNZ, Alinghi, BMW Oracle Racing, and Luna Rossa.

In the Louis Vuitton Cup 2007 to select the challenger to face Alinghi, TNZ lost their first match to Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team, a team who they had beaten in each of their five encounters in the Louis Vuitton Acts. They then won their next 7 races, before losing the final two in round robin 1 to Luna Rossa and BMW Oracle Racing which put them in third place at the end of the first round robin. In Round Robin 2, Team New Zealand were undefeated throughout, taking first place from BMW Oracle Racing. They won their semi-final series 5–2 against Desafío Español 2007 and qualified for the Louis Vuitton finals against Luna Rossa. In the finals, they defeated Luna Rossa with a whitewash victory of 5–0, winning the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to challenge Alinghi for the America's Cup.

On 3 July 2007, Emirates Team New Zealand lost their final race to Alinghi bringing Alinghi's race wins to 5, successfully defending the 32nd America's cup.[9]

Americas Cup...

Alinghi wins the America's Cup, 5–2.

2009 Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Team New Zealand hosted the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in January and February 2009 on the Waitemata Harbour in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland. Team New Zealand defeated Alinghi by a margin of 3 races to 1 in the final. The final races were reduced to the best of five due to difficult weather conditions resulting in the loss of one day's racing.

2010 Louis Vuitton Trophy

In March 2010, the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta returned to Auckland after the first regatta of the series in Nice in November 2009 won by Italy's Azzurra team. On Sunday 21 March 2010, Emirates Team New Zealand won the final of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta with a 56 sec win over Mascalzone Latino.[10]

2011–12 Volvo Ocean Race

Main article: Camper Lifelovers
Team New Zealand's Volvo Open 70 in London, September 2011.

On 13 April 2010, along with Camper, the Spanish-based international footwear manufacturer, Emirates Team New Zealand announced that it would compete in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2011–12.

The campaign was run by Emirates Team New Zealand and skippered by Olympic and round-the-world yachtsman Chris Nicholson. Racing was very close with results of each leg often coming down to minutes and seconds at the finish line after thousands of miles of ocean racing. Emirates Team New Zealand came in second.

2013 America's Cup San Francisco

Main article: 2013 America's Cup
Emirates Team New Zealand's AC72 Aotearoa in San Francisco Bay

On 21 April 2011, Grant Dalton and Emirates Team New Zealand announced their entry for the 2013 America's Cup regatta to be held in San Francisco in 2013. New sponsor Nespresso came on board through parent company Nestlé. Grant Dalton expressed his gratitude to numerous corporate interests based around the world, namely Matteo De Nora and Stephen Tindall among others, in keeping the team afloat through the intervening years in what had been a difficult four years since the last multi-challenger event in Valencia 2007.

The team also received a NZ$36m grant from the New Zealand government to compete in the 2013 America's Cup and to promote and export New Zealand expertise in the field of yachting.[11] This followed on from an economic impact assessment of the 2007 campaign in Valencia had shown a direct economic benefit to New Zealand of $74.4m.[11]

Because of the high cost associated with developing the new AC72 catamaran and the rule limitation of thirty sailing days of development, Team New Zealand entered into a technology sharing programme with the Italian team who had an identical boat and were also based in Auckland.[12] Since Team New Zealand's July 2012 launch, their first AC 72 boat proved fast and reliable, foil sailing for long periods of time at speeds over 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph) with no breakages.[13]

In August 2013, Team New Zealand won the America's Cup challenger series (Louis Vuitton Cup) by defeating the Prada Luna Rossa Syndicate 7–1 and in September 2013 Team New Zealand challenged the Oracle syndicate for the America's Cup.

The race series was very dramatic, with a number of incidents including Oracle Team USA being docked two points (meaning they started the competition on −2 points) and having two main crew members banned – one for the competition, the other for 4 of the races.[14] In Race 8, Team New Zealand nearly capsized the boat due to a lack of hydraulic pressure which caused the boat to move, but the sail to stay in the same place.

By 19 September 2013, Team New Zealand lead Oracle Team USA 8–1 needing just one more win to take the Cup. In Race 13 Team New Zealand were minutes away from winning the cup when the race time limits came in to effect, causing the race to be cancelled. The race was then replayed and Oracle Team USA won - and went on to win all last eight races to come from behind - and take the Cup.[15] It had been the longest-ever event by both number of days and races, and the first since the 25th America's Cup to feature a winner-take-all final race.

Emirates Team New Zealand ruled out any post-racing legal challenge, with ETNZ syndicate head Grant Dalton stating that Oracle's automated stabilisation system had been checked and approved by the official measurers before the start of racing, and that taking legal action would be "an incredibly bad thing to do."[16]

35th Americas Cup

In January 2014, Emirates Team New Zealand announced the signing of 2013 49er World and European Champions and 2012 Olympic Silver Medalists, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. CEO Grant Dalton first said that the team would campaign two AC45's in future America's Cup World Series.[17]

On 25 June 2014 Team New Zealand confirmed their intention to challenge, as they had gained sufficient private financial backing to need no further government assistance.[18]

Yachts used by Team New Zealand


  2. "The Man Who Started It All". 22 June 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
  3. Coutts, Russell (1999). America's Cup 2000. Hodder Moa Beckett. p. 27. ISBN 1-86958-717-0.
  4. Team New Zealand Limited
  5. Swift, E.M. (22 May 1995). "A Clean Sweep". Sports Illustrated.
  6. "NZ wins the America's Cup for the first time". New Zealand History Online. Retrieved 2012-12-31.
  7. Trevett, Claire (2 December 2006). "Peter Blake remembered: Raising a glass to fallen sailing hero". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  8. "A Tribute to Sir Peter Blake",
  10. "Title unknown". Archived from the original on 14 May 2010.
  11. 1 2 "Team NZ gets $36m taxpayer cash for Cup". 21 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  12. Lewis, Paul (28 October 2012). "Yachting: Marriage working well on the water". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  13. Lewis, Paul (21 October 2012). "Ellison's Cup vision turned upside down". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  14. Lewis, Paul (4 September 2013). "America's Cup: Oracle to begin on minus-2". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  15. "Oracle beats New Zealand to keep America's Cup". New Zealand Herald. Sep 26, 2013.
  16. "No legal challenge for Team New Zealand". 28 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-29.
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