America's Cup: Peter Burling confident Team NZ faster than Luna Rossa ahead of America's Cup decider

Having spent the best part of the last two months off the water, Emirates Team NZ skipper and helmsman Peter Burling is confident that his side have the faster boat for the America's Cup finals series, starting Wednesday.

After victory in the Christmas Cup regatta to end 2020, Burling and Team NZ have had to watch on, as Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli emerged victorious in the Prada Cup, setting up a finals series against the Auld Mug holders.


With Luna Rossa having seen off competition from both INEOS Team UK and NYYC American Magic to cement themselves as Cup challengers, Burling holds his hands up - impressed at what he's seen so far from the Italians.

"From watching it, they [Luna Rossa] don't have too many weaknesses," Burling says.

"It always ends up coming down to that speed question.

"The biggest difference between say INEOS and Luna Rossa, was Luna Rossa had a quicker boat speed in light conditions. That's the great unknown right now - just how that is going to shape up.

"We're really happy with how our boat's going but until we actually get to race that first race, we don't know for 100 percent."

Don't mistake Burling's modesty for submission though, as the Kiwi helmsman also asserts that while Luna Rossa are fast, Team NZ are faster.

"[There are] a lot of conditions where I'm relatively confident we do have a faster boat, but there's a lot of conditions where Luna Rossa's proved to be very strong - especially against some of the other challengers," he says.

"But a lot of those have been areas where we've been making some pretty big strides forwards in the last few months, especially our light air sailing, which was probably our biggest weakness in the Christmas Cup. 

"I really feel like it's the area that we've improved the most in the last couple of months. It's been a pretty good period of development for us as a team, so we're really excited about getting into this first race tomorrow."

Despite their status as pre-regatta favourites, Burling insists that his side aren't the finished article, and will have some rust to shake off once racing begins on Wednesday.

"We're learning all the time," Burling adds.

"We obviously learned a lot during the Christmas Cup, but we've also learned a lot watching the challenger series unfold. We've been putting a lot of those learning into practice, racing our chase boat.

"It's not quite like racing a real boat, [Luna Rossa] probably has the jump on us there slightly, but we feel like we're as ready as we can be."

Join us for live updates of the America's Cup regatta, starting Wednesday.