Sail-World.com : Sail-World New Zealand: November 15, 2012
Sail-World New Zealand: November 15, 2012
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for November 15, 2012
On Wednesday, we broke an almost 30 year duck.
Having reported on the America's Cup since 1983, we'd never sailed on an America's Cup boat.
That came to an end this week, with a three hour sailing session aboard Emirates Team NZ's AC72.
It was a hell of a ride - in 25knot winds and whooping around the Hauraki Gulf at speeds well in excess of 40kts. An unforgettable experience.
In this edition of Sail-World we have a long feature story on the day - with plenty of pictures.
We weren't allowed to shoot photos or video on board, and to be honest - at those speeds it's hard to know whether it would be possible to get any shots.
By any measure Emirates Team NZ's AC72 is a hell of a piece of sailing kit.
On most yachts the crew are battling to get upwind in 25kts. Not this boat - you just sheet on and hang on - as she takes off up the track like the proverbial scalded cat. It feels like you are hanging onto a bullet. The boat does all the work. For sure the crew pull the strings and set the gear up, but because they are shorthanded, the systems have to be simple - but once set up you leave the boat to do what she does best.
We killed a few myths along the way. The AC72 has absolutely no trouble staying on foils - in fact she is hard to hold back. With any catamaran, or high performance boat, nose diving is always possible, but this AC72 showed none of the classic signs. We went through the so-called Zone of Death several times on Wednesday - as the AC72 accelerated - we're talking about going from 10 to 40 kts in a few seconds - the foils kicked in and she was up, and away.
The team are buzzing with the boat and program. The enthusiasm is amazing and there's a guarded confidence. Guarded because they know that this is bleeding edge development. There aren't any texts you can reference to tell you what to do - it is all applied engineering and design, and then find out how the theories work well in practice.
So far Emirates Team NZ seem to be plucking the right notes - and that cautious confidence and self-belief is what drives the team.
Long may it continue.
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