America's Cup - AC72 Launch - Major milestone for 34th America's Cup
Welcome to Sail-World.com's first America's Cup Newsletter for the 34th America's Cup, being sent to 155,000 subscribers world-wide.
On a chilly Auckland night, a major milestone in the 34th America's Cup was reached with the launching of the first AC72 for Emirates Team New Zealand.
NZ Prime Minister John Key speaks at the naming ceremony for Emirates Team New Zealand first AC72. Chris Cameron/ETNZ
The naming ceremony staged at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour was attended by the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, and 1500 invited guests, plus many thousands more in the form of a walk up crowd.
The official function staged inside the three level glass walled Viaduct Events Centre, and was packed with official guests and those who had contributed in many ways to the boat and the occasion.
The event was broadcast live on New Zealand television in the prime time news, and webcast to the world.
In America's Cup terms, the past five days has seen the curtain pulled back on what can be expected of the AC72 class which will clash officially for the first time in the Challenger Selection Series, or Louis Vuitton Cup, on Independence Day, July 4, 2013 in San Francisco.
For most Cup watchers and the general public - who tend to run hot and cold on things America's Cup - the key point of interest has been the size of the beast.
Mandy Barker christens New Zealand. Emirates Team New Zealand naming ceremony for 'New Zealand', the team's first AC72. Chris Cameron/ETNZ
The sailing world has never before seen a 72ft long, 46ft wide, inshore racing catamaran complete with a 132ft tall wingsail, probably going to run on L-boards.
Viewed from afar, the AC72 doesn't appear to be that imposing, but up close that feeling fades fast and turns to terror. The mind turns quickly to the speed potential - which is now commonly talked of as being 20kts upwind and 40kts downwind - probably more on longer tracks in the right conditions.
Numbers that roll easily impressively off the tongue, but for most are best viewed from the chase boat. If you like car racing, you'll love these boats.
Technically, the task faced by the designers of the teams is unprecedented. Probably the nearest was the 2010 America's Cup Defender, Alinghi 5, however that 120fter did not have a wingsail, had engines to provide hydraulic power for winches and gear, and was designed for long course racing.
By comparison, sailing the AC72 on the 34th America's Cup course, will be like racing a Formula 1 race car on a speedway track.
In this edition of Sail-World's America's Cup newsletter we have tried to give you an impression of how the new AC72 class will shape up.
We have images from the first rigging session on Wednesday, followed by the first splash of the AC72 on Friday afternoon.
There is an image gallery or two from the Friday evening rehearsal, with the AC72 picked out against the Auckland skyline.
Emirates Team NZ AC72 first rigging - Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand Richard Gladwell
Yesterday we captured the AC72 passing through the Viaduct Harbour bridge. The video in this edition gives a good understanding of the deck layout of the AC72 - with her wheel steering and four grinding pedestals in each hull. This video is in HD - so you can see it in full screen.
How other teams have tackled these issues remains to be unveiled at this stage - and will become evident over the coming months. Maybe all the treatments of how to sail fast, while retaining control and maneuverability will be similar. Maybe we will see something quite different from each team.
The video also answers some of the questions as to how the AC72's will be taken off the dock. Emirates Team NZ's solution to this issue is to develop a couple of RIB tugs with rotating engines, capable of pushing the AC72 sideways.
Grant Dalton and Luna Rossa's Max Sirena - the two teams they head will work out of Auckland until April 2013. Luna Rossa Challenge 2013
Blow up some of the shots from the Friday night rehearsal, and see the AC72 going sideways through the raised Viaduct Bridge. Not quite what the architects had in mind when drawing up the design for the harbour complex in the late 1990's - but proves that with a bit of ingenuity and skill, the maneuvering issue with the AC72 can be overcome. Exiting the Z-shaped channel will not be easy.
Next step from here will the first first sail for Emirates Team NZ's AC72. With the weather bomb currently being experienced in Auckland, this may be some days away.
Entries for the 34th America's Cup close on August 1, 2012. Currently just four challengers have entered.
Next to launch and sail is expected to be Oracle Team USA. Luna Rossa are currently assembling their only AC72 in Auckland, and are expected to sail in late September.
Artemis Racing will sail as soon as they have a wingsail ready. The Challenger of Record had hoped to have been sailing by early July out of Valencia, Spain, but is now moving to San Francisco and is expected to sail their first boat in September or October.
Team Korea has paid their USD200,000 entry fee, and is expected to launch a single boat.
From here on Sail-World's America's Cup coverage will continue in our normal newsletters, published up to three times per week, to our worldwide subscriber base of 155,000 readers. As we have done in the 32nd and 33rd and now 34th America's Cup cycles, we expect to be among the first with the breaking news as happens on www.sail-world.com
We will be publishing further America's Cup newsletters, when there is sufficient content and/or on milestone occasions - we expect this to be once a month, until the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Sail-World's America's Cup News Editor
Launch Rehearsal - Emirates Team NZ's AC72 at the Viaduct Habour, Auckland, New Zealand Richard Gladwell