America's Cup 2021: Team New Zealand hail 'rocketship' after 'Auld Mug' triumph

Emirates Team New Zealand thanked their designers and engineers for creating a "rocketship" of a yacht that secured the America's Cup but admitted there was some trepidation as to how the boat would perform at the start of the match.

On Wednesday, Team NZ wrapped up a 7-3 victory over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli with a 46-second victory in Race 10, savouring a triumphant defence of the 'Auld Mug' in home waters, four years after reclaiming it with victory over Oracle Team USA in Bermuda.

"We didn't know what was going to happen when we got off the start line on race one of the America's Cup," Team NZ's trimmer Glenn Ashby said.

"Really the whole way through, you wake up every morning thinking what's the day going to bring.

"We had a rocketship of a boat (but) it took us a little while to work out the modes against these (Luna Rossa) guys over here.

"They probably worked out our modes maybe earlier than we did and they certainly used their strengths that they had.

"So for us to come through in the end was really down to a fantastic design team and engineering shore team.

"Yes, we had to sail the boat but we also had to get around the track well."

Designer Dan Bernasconi is primarily responsible for the AC75 foiling monohull class that was used during this edition of the America's Cup.

Along with Ashby, helmsman Peter Burling soaked up his second America's Cup win, after piloting Team NZ to the 7-1 win in Bermuda.

The 30-year-old Olympic gold medallist found it hard to compare the victories four years apart but revelled in the cruise back to shore, as a fleet of spectator boats escorted 'Te Rehutai' to the harbour.

"To see the way COVID has changed the normality of the way we live, to be able to still have an event like this is full credit to everyone that lives here, the government and for everyone trying to keep our country COVID-free," Burling said.

It was also a triumph for veteran team manager Grant Dalton, who revived New Zealand's America's Cup programme, after their failed defence in 2003.

Dalton took the country to the brink of success at the 2007 and 2013 America's Cups, before the long-awaited breakthrough in Bermuda.

"It's really a big deal here," Dalton said. "I'm very proud. 

"Bermuda was a watershed moment but it's so much better as we're home.

"It is a big moment but it's a relief too that we got it done. It'll sink in as the days go by but it's back to work pretty quickly, I'd imagine."