Luna Rossa and Emirates Team NZ - Practice Racing, Waitemata Harbour
Auckland's America's Cup fans got the chance, today, to see what they have missed, with the no-show of an expected event in the America's Cup World Series.
On the inner harbour course, familiar to many as a match racing track, bounded on its southern side by a number of vantage points, spectators got the chance to view at first hand, the two Auckland based America's Cup teams going head to head in a practice series in the AC45's.
Four races were sailed today, with Emirates Team New Zealand taking four wins from the Italian Luna Rossa team having their first real hit-out in the AC45 class.
The racing was organised by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and the occasion was also a good first chance for the teams to race with the new 5metre long wingsail extensions which have been developed to add horsepower for the expected light air conditions in the next rounds of the America's Cup World series in Italy.
Sailing in winds that gusted to 20kts, the wingsail extensions did not look out of place, and the two AC45's handled the extra area well.
The AC45 sailing in Auckland will not last long.
This is the last time the two AC45's will be seen together in Auckland, the Luna Rossa AC45 will be dismantled this week in preparation for shipping to Naples for the ACWS regatta scheduled for April 7-15, and the Auckland sailing program will revert to the SL33's
ETNZ-Prada-050212 (9) - Luna Rossa and Emirates Team NZ - Practice Racing, Waitemata Harbour