Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa went racing off Auckland this afternoon.
It was not so much a spectacle as an historic encounter as the two AC72 catamarans met on the water.
It was the first AC72 race – practice or otherwise – to take place. The south-westerly breeze never got above 12 knots and the yachts had no chance of stretching their legs and providing the action that America’s Cup fans had expected. gallery/first-race-between-ac72s’s pictures are here.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC72 was the first to be launched – on July 21 – and the team has been testing and training alone. With only 30 days of sailing allowed under America’s Cup rules until the end of January 2012, every day is precious.
Today was sailing day No 20 and skipper Dean Barker welcomed the company on the water to add an element of competition to the sailing programme.
Luna Rossa was launched in Auckland on October 26 and has also been sailing alone. More practice races will held over coming days. But tomorrow Emirates Team, New Zealand’s AC72 will be ashore for an appointment with the measurer.
Click here for Martyn Tasker's report on TVNZ News