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25 Sep 2017 9:57
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Sailing

    Capital crowds turn out for America's Cup

    Wellingtonians have turned out to welcome home Team New Zealand and the America's Cup.

    Fans have lined up for hours in Wellington to get a glimpse of the America's Cup as it passed through the city.

    After a huge turnout in Auckland last week, it was the capital's turn welcome the Auld Mug on Tuesday and residents didn't disappoint with their displays of excitement, brandishing signs proclaiming their love for Team NZ.

    The crowd of thousands stretched along the parade route from parliament to Civic Square. It was bolstered by school holidays and a helping of unseasonable sunshine, despite a blanket of fog lingering earlier in the day.

    Cries of "well done guys" and "that's so cool" roared from the crowd as the team went past, proudly holding the trophy, bagpipes in the distance.

    A big group from the Worser Bay Sailing Club gathered at the square to welcome their fellow club member Josh Junior, 26, who was one of the "cyclors" for Team NZ.

    "We've had a lot of do with the others on the boat too as they've been growing up as little kids. We've been all round the regattas with them so we know them all pretty well," member Mark Berry says.

    "It's very unusual that such a young group of guys have won such a prestigious event."

    Junior himself was thrilled with the crowd.

    "It's amazing to bring the cup down here. To have you guys support is just amazing," he said.

    Acting Mayor Paul Eagle told the audience the team were always welcome in the capital, and he acknowledged the late Sir Peter Blake.

    "We delivered on our promise of sunshine," he said.

    "I prefer to say it's now Wellington's Cup."

    Skipper Glenn Ashby, helmsman Peter Burling and the rest of the Team New Zealand crew captured sailing's most coveted trophy by completing a 7-1 win over defenders Team USA two weeks ago.

    The first public welcome home was last Thursday, when an estimated 80,000 people turned out for a parade through downtown Auckland.

    The celebrations will continue through the week, with Christchurch hosting its victory parade on Wednesday, followed by Dunedin on Thursday.

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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