Hundreds, if not thousands, of people crawled out of the warmth of their beds to show their support for Tauranga’s own Peter Burling, as he headed into the final race of the 35th America’s Cup.
A big screen along The Strand saw crowds gather to watch the winning race.
The Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club was also packed to the rafters with people watching the race with pride.
Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle 7-1 to claim the cup in Bermuda this morning.
Burling’s old sailing coach at Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club says Burling, a Tauranga boy, was always destined for great things.
"He was always a competitive kid. He’s always been able to look at water differently. He’ll pick something out of the water and say this is my patch."
Burling is the youngest helmsman to race at the America’s Cup but he was always ahead of his curve from a young age, says Mark Smith.
Vice commodore Andy Knowles says he was racing at an advanced level his whole life and this is due to his hard work on and off the water.
"He was here training every day. We are very proud of him to say the least."
Prime Minister Bill English has congratulated Emirates Team New Zealand on the Kiwi leadership, teamwork, and technological brilliance that enabled it to regain the America’s Cup.
Team NZ won the first of two races scheduled in Bermuda this morning to defeat Oracle Team USA 7-1 in the first-to-seven series
“I would like to congratulate chief executive Grant Dalton, helmsman Peter Burling, skipper Glen Ashby and the rest of the team, both on the boat and on shore.
“They have done an amazing job to beat formidable opposition.
“The crewmanship aboard Team NZ has been outstanding and the innovative use of pedal power to drive the hydraulics on the New Zealand boat has showcased Kiwi ingenuity to the world.”
Bill says officials will talk to the Auckland City Council this morning about an appropriate way to recognise the team’s victory.