Passing close to a reef marker - Emirates Team NZ - March 2013
After 19 days of sailing their second AC72, Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker says the designers and boat builders had delivered all the sailing crew had hoped.
'In some ways,' he says, 'they delivered more than we expected.'
'We learned a lot from our 30 days with the first boat and the second boat seems to be tracking in the right direction.'
Barker said: 'We are mindful of the good sailing going on in San Francisco. Oracle’s back in the water and looking formidable so we have a lot of work ahead to make sure we are competitive right through the Louis Vuitton challenger series.'
Little more than a week’s sailing in Auckland remains before the team packs up the base and heads for San Francisco. With a long list of items on the 'to-do' list, the pressure is on.
The relocation to San Francisco takes place April-May and the team aims to be sailing there towards the end of May, giving themselves a month on the water to become reacquainted with the nuances of the Bay’s breeze and currents.
With the team’s experience at relocating its operations and well used to life on the road he’s expecting an easy transition to life in America. 'San Francisco’s a great city to be based in and it will be an easy transition to American culture.
That aspect easy to deal with – the hard thing is to get comfortable in the surroundings, understand how the day works get used to the traffic and re-establish all the routines.'
In Auckland the sailing team has spent a lot of time simulating race conditions by running virtual boundaries. 'Restraints of the course area force us to do a lot more manoeuvres – tacks and gybes every two to three minutes – than we would normally do in this type of boat.
'We know the difficulties of in San Francisco Bay’s currents and the breeze need to focus very hard on the course area, understanding how to best manage that.
'The team have spent a lot of time on venue development but until we get there and experience sailing the AC72 on the course area its all theoretical.'