'Whangarei Heads with the Northport facilty in the background and Marsden Cove in the right background'
Three America's Cup teams will be sailing the giant AC72 catamarans in New Zealand during the summer of 2012/2013
America's Cup Defender, Oracle Racing today confirmed what had been rumoured for weeks around Auckland, that they would be sailing their giant AC72 class catamarans off the northern New Zealand coast. They will join the Italian Luna Rossa team and the Emirates Team New Zealand group who will be sailing out of Auckland, about 70nm to the south of the US team base.
Oracle Racing will commence sailing off the Northland coast, in mid-January 2013 through to April 2013, after their first AC72 is launched in San Francisco in July 2012.
Marsden Cove and Northport are located about two hours drive from Auckland, New Zealand - venue for the 2000 and 2003 America’s Cups. - Marsden Cove
Under the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup teams can only sail for 30 days, or just five days per month, as a supposed cost reduction measure in the programs whose budgets usually exceed USD100million.
After 1 January 2013 teams can launch a second AC72 and the training time allowed increases to 45 days in the period to 30th April 2013.
Training will take place out of a facility called Northport, which is based in Whangarei Harbour and is close to the popular Marsden Cove marina and coastal residential development. Marsden Cove is also the venue for several major sailing and cruising events during the course of the year in an area known as the winterless North.
Oracle Racing describe Northport as a deep-water commercial port situated at the entrance to Whangarei Harbour, making it the northernmost multi-purpose port in New Zealand. The nearby city of Whangarei is among the 12 largest in New Zealand with a population estimated at more than 52,000.
They say the location was selected for reasons including its close proximity to Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, about an hour’s drive to the south. CBC is building many of the key components for Oracle Racing’s two AC72 wingsail catamarans while the hulls are being built at the team base in San Francisco, as per the nationality rules for the Cup.
The area is very close to the open ocean, and will allow the team to sail for long distances in fair winds and seas without land obstruction the east.
Northport also has ample shore space and easy access to open waters, where the team can test its two AC72’s. Oracle Racing’s training is scheduled to begin mid-January 2013 and run through the end of April.
The US team have advised that their full sailing team will be on site as well as the full support/shore team. The team plans to erect a tent on site measuring 70m by 40m that will be the main onshore facility to support the trialing of the AC72. The shore teams will arrive at the end of October and will commence setting up the base, which is about an hour's drive from Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, which in turn is about an hour's drive from Auckland, where Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand will also be sailing AC72 catamarans.
View from Marsden Cove towards Whangarei Heads. Marsden Cove is the venue for the Clash of the Cove, Offshore Powerboat racing and many other events. -
Oracle Racing expects to launch its first AC72 this summer from its base at Pier 80 in San Francisco. Under the cost containment rules of the America’s Cup, the team can sail that boat for only 30 days from its launch date through Jan. 31, 2013. On Feb. 1 teams are permitted to launch a second AC72 and may sail each yacht 45 days through Apr. 31, 2013.
Oracle Racing’s first AC72 will undergo tests on San Francisco Bay after its launching. Later this year it’ll be shipped to Northport where it’ll join the second AC72 for two-boat testing beginning in February.
The America's Cup Regatta will be staged in San Francisco from July 2013 to September 2013. The Challenger Selection Series, or the Louis Vuitton Cup, will consist at this stage, of just three teams sailing the AC72 catamarans. The Defenders will sail their own build up series from the same venue.
Up to 11 teams have been involved in sailing the smaller AC45 one design wingsailed catamarans during a two year event called the America's Cup World series which sails in US and European venues.
by Richard Gladwell
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8:25 PM Wed 18 Apr 2012GMT
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