Plenty of sailing action from on the water and ashore, in this editon, delayed by the holiday weekend.
On Monday, Emirates Team New Zealand launched their second AC72 - well christened - the planned launch was delayed because of 30kt winds.
First sail for the 72ft catamaran was due for today, but was postponed due to a combination of a long work list and non-existent winds, The shore crew have been given four days off and sailing will start in earnest next week.
We took the opportunity at the 'launch' to talk with several of the key people in the team and feature four video interviews in this edition of Sail-World.com's newsletter.
Team boss Grant Dalton provides and overall perspective on the philosophy behind the new design, where the campaign is headed for the next two or three months, and gives his views of the state of the competition. Skipper Dean Barker looks at the new boat state from the sailors' perspective. Surprisingly the sailing team is only 13 strong, and budgets don't extent to a backup helmsman.
Those who watch the Wynard Quarter webcam will be well aware of lights burning in the AC72 hangar at the Viaduct harbour. The shore team has put in massive hours over the past few weeks and months to keep the AC72 show on the road for Emirates Team NZ. While the ETNZ swan may appear to be gliding over the Lake Hauraki, below the surface bystanders cannot tell how fast the feet are revving. Chief Operating Officer Kevin Shoeridge, provides an insight into the logistics juggling that goes on, behind the scenes, for the team.
All the interviews are interesting, but for those trying to get their heads around the AC72 technicalities, of special interest will be the interview with Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Nick Holroyd. He explains the changes made in this second generation AC72, and looks at the opposition designs. We've illustrated this liberally with still images to demonstrate the points made.
He also gives a brief analysis of their two San Francisco based competitors - which is rather revealing.
Over the last two days, Oracle Team USA have relaunched their AC72, USA-17, rebuilt after the capsize in October, and fitted with a new second generation wingsail. Oracle have released images and video of the first two days on the water. While the team are very upbeat, it is a little difficult to tell quite how they rate against the benchmarks set by the other teams - who all have more sailing days on their logbooks.
The Racing Schedule for the 34th America's Cup has been published today - with race dates and times. The so-called 'Summer of Racing' looks very lean at first glance with just an hour of racing scheduled from the Round Robins through to the end of the Semi-Finals. Instead of mirroring the America's Cup Match (a best of 19 races) the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals will be six races shorter at 13 races, and could be over after just seven races. Will the event be a 'Dead Rubber' after the first three days?.
On Tuesday the Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Regatta concluded in 30kt winds on the outer Auckland Harbour. Certainly there was some impressive sailing, with a sprinkling of overseas entries amongst the fleet.
The results went as expected in most classes, with the tussle in the Finn class being the highlight of the regatta.
We have reports on each day of racing, plus an image gallery from the final day of racing.
There seems to be quite a revival in the small boat classes, evidenced by the strong turn-outs at the various National Championships - with over 50 sailors contesting the Zephyr Nationals, currently being staged at the Manly Sailing Club. Starting tomorrow a 26 strong fleet is expected to contest the Finn Nationals being sailed from the Takapuna Boating Club.
Tack those numbers onto the 47 that contested the Paper Tiger Nationals, in late January; the big 140 boats fleet for the Auckland Optimist and 60 for the Auckland Starling titles; the ten that competed in the 18ft skiff Nationals and the picture is all very positive.
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