North Sails NEWS


Defenders Emirates Team New Zealand Keep Their Title

After a battle for the ages, Emirates Team New Zealand sailed into America’s Cup history on Wednesday afternoon (NZ local time) and, once again, held the Auld Mug up high. Over the course of the seven days and ten races on home waters in the Hauraki Gulf, Emirates Team New Zealand defended their right as guardians over the oldest trophy in international sport. The final result was 7 to 3. Their win means the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is now the second most winning yacht club in the 170-year history of the America’s Cup. 

Led by the young Peter Burling, Emirates Team New Zealand’s win is one for the ages and a symbol of many long days and sleepless nights to create the fastest boat on the water. The journey to hold the Cup aloft again was three years in the making after Emirates Team New Zealand cycled their way into Cup history in 2017.  Following this win, the Kiwis let “innovation” lead them to a new, modern class like we’ve never seen before complete with flying boats and soft wing sails. And, now we’re all left wondering what exciting “secret” things will reveal themselves with time.  Over the course of seven wild days, racing was incredibly close and could have easily gone either way, thus proving: the AC75 is one amazing boat and the teams around them are the best in the business. 

“Hats off to Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli,” Kiwi sailor Glenn Ashby said following their America’s Cup win. “We didn’t know what was going to happen when we got off the start line of race one of the America’s Cup. And, you woke up every morning going: ‘what’s the day going to bring?’ But, we had a rocket ship of a boat. It took us a little while to work out the mode against Luna Rossa and they were absolutely fierce competitors. It was extremely difficult for us to get past them. For us to come through at the end really came down to a fantastic design, engineering, and shore team.”

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, the official Challenger of Record, did not go down without a fight. In fact, the Italian team forced the Kiwis to the brink more than once throughout the series. It’s entirely safe to say the score could have gone either way and wins happened because of small mistakes, not design or technology advantages. Over the course of the last three months, Luna Rossa perfected flying their 75ft monohull and defeated the teams who stood between them and the main event. Whether it was the Brits or the Americans, no one was a match for the super slick Italians and their dual helmsmen, Francesco Bruni and Jimmy Spithill. 

Trophies and country flags aside, there’s one thing we can collectively agree upon following the 2021 America’s Cup: the America’s Cup has reaffirmed its position as the leader in innovation for the sport. With twin skin mains and 75ft monohulls flying at 50 knots, the sport of sailing is the other winner of this America’s Cup.

North Technology Group, including North Sails, Southern Spars, and Future Fibres, are proud to be a part of the 36th America’s Cup story. When this Cup cycle began and teams were looking to bring together the best people, technology, and components, the Defender, Challenger, and INEOS Team UK  knew North Technology Group held the key to success. 

Just before the final day of racing, we managed to grab President of North Sails, and America’s Cup commentator, Ken Read, to get his take on the last three months and how the 36th America’s Cup has forever changed the sport of sailing. Here’s what he had to say…



“The changing world of sailing is certainly amongst us, and there’s no question about it. The sailing world is simply a buzz. We’ve never seen sailing (even us diehard sailors) like this before. Whether you love foiling or don’t love foiling, this is different. This is crazy. There is a strong future ahead and it really sounds like everything I hear so far is, this is the class going forward. 

“This America’s Cup is certainly going to bring a ton of innovation forward. I can’t wait for the design debrief with all the North Sails designers, because I know for a fact that what comes out of this debrief is going to be like no debrief ever before. This is where we’re watching the future of 3Di unfold, and it’s happening right before our very eyes.

What happened on the Hauraki Golf is going to trickle down to cruising, superyachts, offshore races and Grand Prix syndicates. What our embedded designers have learned in this Cup is nothing short of spectacular. And that is great. That’s great for us. It’s great for sailing. 

“It might not be immediate because all these teams here are still thinking about going again and they want to actually try to keep as much information to themselves as possible. But, perhaps it’s in the second or third generation level where bits and pieces come off the AC boat and we can use them on our own boats.

“This is not going to slow down. Let’s hope that we have a two, or maybe three, year cycle between Cups. Let’s hope that other teams jump in. We don’t necessarily know where the next race is going to be. But you know what? It doesn’t matter right now– let’s thrive in this. Let’s utilize it, talk about it, let’s be proud of it. 

“Be proud of saying the North Technology Group products were on the winning boats. Let’s have fun with it because you’re going to see a lot more about it. And once the debrief happens, and we really get sick our teeth into the nitty-gritty and find out what really happened behind the curtain, that’s when the fun really begins.

This is Kenny Read signing off. Hopefully see everybody out in the water this summer.”

Shortly after recording his podcast, Ken had to pack up and fly to California to sail in an offshore race. From Ken and all of us at North Sails, a huge congratulations to Emirates Team New Zealand and their entire sail design team, mast build, and design team. This includes Burns Fallow (lead sail designer), Aaron Boot (foil designer), Ben Fletcher (sailmaker), Richard Kiff (sailmaker), Bobby Kleinschmit (naval architect), Guillaume Verdier (naval architect), Rob Salthouse (rig construction coordinator), Dan Bernasconi (Head of Design), Ray Davies (coach), Hamish Hooper (PRO), and  Grant Dalton (CEO).

It’s been fascinating to watch your vision for the AC75 come to life and thank you all for showcasing sailing at the highest level.