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Kiwis jump for joy at America's Cup win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017

Fans draped in New Zealand flags rose early in Auckland to greet Team NZ's America's Cup win with a wave of cheers and popping crackers.

Brought to their feet as skipper Peter Burling and his crew sailed across the finishing line, those gathered at Auckland's Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron hugged and bounced with joy - then quickly exchanged their coffees for glasses of champagne.

Despite Team NZ taking a comfortable lead early the final race on Tuesday morning (NZT) as they looked to bury the ghosts of four years ago, an elated Yacht Squadron vice commodore Ian Cook battled to contain his nerves.

"Was I nervous? Very much so," he said.

"It's great win. The boys have worked hard, real tough battle, it's been a long time getting to here.

"The young fellas and the rest of the team have really shown what commitment can do."

During New Zealand's last reign as holders from 1995 to 2003, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron housed the America's Cup trophy and hosted the team's title defence.

And while many will now turn their thoughts to Team NZ's next title defence in three or four years, Mr Cook was keen to first let this win sink in.

"Today is about savouring the moment - tomorrow is another day. We'll figure out what happens after that," he said.

Wrapped in a New Zealand flag, fan and avid sailor Faye Hayman was bouncing with joy and quite capable of savouring the moment and looking ahead to a possible Team NZ cup defence in Auckland.

"Yes, I will definitely be back here and hopefully holding another glass of bubbly at the end," she said.

She said she was brimming with pride at an "inner strength that always comes through" in Kiwis.

"The emotion is amazing and you just can't explain how great we feel as a Kiwi to win this cup," she said.

Caroline Angus-Baker and her children took up a front row seat at the Yacht Squadron to watch the race.

The Auckland born sailor has taken part in the America's Cup, working with Team US skipper Jimmy Spithill in his debut cup race in 2000 for Young Australia.

But she is now firmly back in the Kiwi camp.

"When we won in 1995, my father brought me here to celebrate and now I've been able to do the same thing with my children," she said.

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