The duel that was the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA was intense and in the balance until nearly the very end. It took place over the nights of March 2021 in the waters off Auckland, New Zealand. Emirates Team New Zealand, as defenders of the title earned in 2017, challenged Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli as they did in the 2000 edition. As then, the Italian crew came as the challenger. They were going up against the favorites, confronting an outstanding team and hoping for victory.
In 2000 they were completely shut down, 7-0 for the New Zealanders, and everything was put off for the time being. The opportunity of a new challenge came twenty-one years later.
After coming through the PRADA Cup semifinals, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli crew clashed with Sir Ben Ainslie and his Ineos Team UK in the final. They were extremely fast and promoted directly from the round robins. For their part, Checcho Bruni and Jimmy Spithill demonstrated a character that led them to victory over the British and meant that the opportunity to make up for the disaster of 2000 took shape.
The America’s Cup finally began on March 10 and had the sailing world holding its breath for the first three race days. Point by point, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Emirates Team New Zealand picked up victories and defeats to draw level at 3-3, with seven wins the ultimate goal to earn the cup.
It was an extraordinary, uncertain challenge with neither team proving capable of dominating the other. We had to wait until the fourth day for a crew to gain a real advantage. Helped by the wind situation and change in race course, Emirates Team New Zealand took themselves first to 5-3, then 6-3 on their home turf, shifting the balance of the week-long deadlock distinctly in their favor.
The most prestigious regatta of the seven seas ended on Wednesday, March 17 with the seventh partial success of Emirates Team New Zealand, which won the trophy for the fourth time, after 1995, 2000 and 2017, and can safely keep hold of the cup for another four years.
To tackle the extreme conditions reserved for the fastest races in the world, both teams had to protect their crews on board. This need for safety results above all from the ever more astonishing performance of AC75-class sailing boats. That’s why they turned to Dainese, who have been working for nearly fifty years on protective technology for athletes in various disciplines, from motorcycle racing to skiing.
Dainese created Sea-Guard specially for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Emirates Team New Zealand, a protective jacket designed to protect crews and leave them free to give it their all on board. In addition to providing impact protection, Sea-Guard guarantees flotation, a characteristic expressly required by the rules of the America’s Cup. In addition to Sea-Guard, the New Zealand team also wears the Dainese Oceano Concept helmet, created using experience acquired in the Ski World Cup and developed according to the needs of the Emirates Team New Zealand crew.