Two prospective teams from Asia were in Auckland for the launch of the AC45 on Tuesday. By way of contrast to the secrecy that has surrounded the teams pre-entry, to date, one group representing Chinese interests were happy to be photographed and sailed on the AC45 on Thursday.
Representatives from a prospective Challenger from China had a short test sail on board the AC 45. The other group represented, we believe, Korean interests. Both were at a dinner hosted by Louis Vuitton on Tuesday night.
America's Cup Media reports: While the time on board was brief, it was long enough to know that the AC 45 is the right platform for teams to step up to multihull racing in the America’s Cup, say the prospective team’s General Manager Thierry Barot and designer Yann Dabbadie.
'The boat is very well balanced, a very safe design that is great for teams without much experience,' said Dabbadie after a day on the water observing the AC 45 in Auckland. 'It’s very basic and very easy to handle – a very good first step.'
For Cup veteran Barot, who was with Team China in the 32nd America’s Cup, the new AC 45 gets a thumbs up. 'It’s magic. It’s impressive on the water. There is so much power yet it is so safe. I really think it will be exciting for public and media.'
The prospective Chinese, represented by Barot and Dabbadie in Auckland this week, will leave New Zealand after three days of meetings with America’s Cup officials including Regatta Director Iain Murray.
'We are getting closer,' Barot said of China’s prospects for challenging. 'We hope to start training soon with the Chinese team.'
The Chinese words emblazoned on the shirts of Barot and Dabbadie were 'Xin Yi Dai.' Those words mean New Generation. Perhaps a New Generation is coming soon to the 34th America’s Cup. Stay tuned.
A new video, covering the launch and looking back on the AC45 sea trials plus featuring on-board footage has just been released by America's Cup Media.