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BLACK TO THE FUTURE - There is really only one story in New Zealand tonight - New Zealand has won the 30th edition of the America's Cup in a stunning 5 nil cleansweep over Italian challenger, Prada.

New Zealander's conceived it, they designed it, they tested it and they won it - 5 years of hard grind came to an end in sweet victory when New Zealand took international sport's oldest prize of 140 years.

New Zealand became the first country outside the United States to successfully defend the America's Cup and it was done under a new skipper, Dean Barker who is now seen to have a huge future in world yatch racing.

Russell Coutts had stepped down as skipper for the day allowing Barker to take charge but saw nothing special about it - we are a team.

Black Magic won the cup in a final sprint to the finish line beating Prada by 48 seconds after leading convincingly throughout.

It was a challenge noted for no protests - commentators say it was a clean challenge and New Zealand can be very proud of that.

America's Cup veteran, Dennis Connor, said the world of America's Cup sailing must now refocus its design and racing preparations if it wants to win the Cup back.

Arriving back at the Auckland viaduct basin Black Magic and its crew was overwhelmed by massive crowds, blaring ship's hooters, streamers, sprayed champagne and whistles. Thousands of people had poured out of office blocks down Auckland's main and side streets heading towards what will likely be the biggest party in Auckland for some time.

Challenger, Prada, entered the basin first and the crew appeared to be overwhelmed by the massive cheering and good-natured and noisy reception they received. They were worthy challengers after winning the Louis Vuitton challenger cup series in a nail-biting final.

When Team New Zealand arrived at the floating presentation platform it was all smiles and handshaking between the two competing crews. Prada's crew sprayed Black Magic's crew with champagne and were liberally handing bottles of the bubbly across to members of Team New Zealand.

The next America's Cup challenge is likely to be in 2003.

The America's Cup is still New Zealand's Cup.

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