America's Cup timeline: How Team New Zealand retained the Auld Mug

It’s been a wild ride reaching today’s America’s Cup triumph for Team New Zealand, from team withdrawals to a global pandemic to soured relations and everything else in between.

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Capsizes, controversy and cup magic – the Auld Mug’s served up some historic sailing moments. Source: 1 NEWS

Here’s a look back on how the America’s Cup remained New Zealand’s Cup.

June 26 2017: Team New Zealand beat Oracle Team USA 7-1 in Bermuda in the 35th America’s Cup to win back the Auld Mug.

June 27 2017: Luna Rossa announced as Challenger of Record for 36th America’s Cup.

November 21 2017: Revolutionary foiling monohull designs, later to be known as the AC75s, unveiled.

January 1 2018: Entries for challengers open. Syndicates have until June 30 that year to enter, although late entries are accepted up until November 30.

March 13 2018: Longtime Team NZ rival and mastermind of the 2013 Comeback, Jimmy Spithill, announced as helmsman for Luna Rossa.

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The new AC75 yachts see a return to monohulls for the next cup defence. Source: 1 NEWS

March 31 2018: ZC75 Class Rules are officially published, outlining what teams can and cannot do in the construction of their foiling monohulls.

May 2 2018: Another familiar face to Team NZ, former helmsman Dean Barker, revealed as part of New York entry American Magic.

July 2 2018: INEOS Team UK, led by British sailing great Sir Ben Ainslie, officially enter their challenge for the 36th America’s Cup.

August 31 2018: Auckland revealed as location for America’s Cup and Prada Cup. Specific race course area in the Waitematā Harbour is also defined.

November 30 2018: Three other entries are accepted for the regatta: Malta Atlus Challenge, Dutch Sail and Stars and Stripes.

March 31 2019: Syndicates are allowed to launch their first boats. Team NZ are quick to get their boat up on its foils.

April 2 2019: American Magic files for arbitration in an attempt to deny the three late entries from joining the regatta. The bid fails but they’d soon get their wish regardless.

May 31 2019: Royal Malta Yacht Club withdraws as a challenger, ending Malta’s first ever challenge for the Auld Mug. A lack of resources is the reported reason.

July 1 2019: Dutch Sail withdraws as a challenger. Stars and Stripes confirms their ongoing commitment to the campaign.

February 15 2020: Syndicates are allowed to launch their second boats.

March 26 2020: New Zealand enters a level 4 lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Challengers helped to prepare for managed isolation periods on arrival in NZ later in the year.

April 23 2020: America’s Cup World Series in Cagliari is cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

June 4 2020: America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth is cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

December 9 2020: Stars and Stripes withdraws from the regatta, citing financial pressures as reason for being unable to reach Auckland.

December 17-20 2020: America’s Cup World Series and the cancelled Christmas Cup are raced in Auckland. Team NZ comes out on top with a record of 5-1. Their only loss is to American Magic.

January 15 2021: Prada Cup begins.

January 17 2021: American Magic capsize during their fourth race. Their boat suffers significant damage including a large hole in its hull. The team is forced to withdraw from the remaining round robins to repair the boat.

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Barker and company were locked in a close race with Luna Rossa when disaster struck. Source: 1 NEWS

January 24 2021: Prada Cup round robins finish. INEOS Team UK finish as the surprising top seed after going undefeated.

January 29 2021: Prada Cup semi-finals between Luna Rossa and American Magic begin.

January 30 2021: Luna Rossa make light work of American Magic, sweeping the Americans and their still-dodgy AC75 aside 4-0.

February 13 2021: Prada Cup finals between Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK begin.

February 15 2021: Auckland enters a level three lockdown due to a community outbreak of Covid-19. Luna Rossa insist on racing in the lockdown despite no crowds able to attend which causes rifts between the Challenger of Record and America’s Cup organisers.

February 18 2021: Auckland returns to alert level two, meaning limited festivities are allowed but relations between parties have soured.

February 21 2021: Luna Rossa stun INEOS Team UK with another dominating performance, winning Prada Cup series 7-1.

February 28 2021: Auckland once again returns to a level three lockdown. America’s Cup racing is postponed in wake of Government’s decision.

March 7 2021: Auckland returns to level two, meaning racing can get underway.

March 10 2021: The America’s Cup begins.

March 12 2021: With the scores locked at 2-2, Auckland returns to Covid-19 Alert Level 1, meaning crowds are allowed back in their masses to support Team NZ.

March 13 2021: Team NZ and Luna Rossa trade races once again, keeping series level at 3-3. Luna Rossa are happy to quash rumours Kiwis have a faster boat.

March 14 2021: Racing is postponed a day due to light winds.

March 15 2021: Team NZ surge ahead 5-3 after two comeback wins on Course E, including turning around a four-minute deficit into a four-minute win.

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Despite being almost written off in race eight, the Kiwi’s dug deep to score an amazing comeback victory against Luna Rossa. Source: 1 NEWS

March 16 2021: Team NZ go to match point on another comeback win thanks to a surge of wind on the fifth leg. They are stranded on that match point as wind conditions see the second race of the day abandoned.

March 17 2021: Team NZ dominate Luna Rossa for a clinical seventh win, retaining the America’s Cup in the process.