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America's Cup - C-Tech's five Cup campaigns with Emirates Team NZ

by Chris Kitchen on 24 Jun 2017
Emirates Team New Zealand sailing on Bermuda’s Great Sound for the second day of testing in the lead up to the 35th America’s Cup Hamish Hooper/Emirates Team NZ
C-Tech began life in 1997 as a small back yard operation in co-founder Alex Valling’s shed.

Fast forward 20 years and C-Tech has a lot to celebrate. Their composite technicians have produced over 50,000 custom designed carbon spars, and they’ve had a successful partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand for five consecutive America’s Cup campaigns.

C-Tech and Emirates Team New Zealand first worked together during their 2003 campaign to supply sail battens. Despite radical changes in America’s Cup classes, 15 years later C-Tech continues to supply wing components, rudders, dagger board cases, dagger board tips, fairings, lifting posts, accumulator tubes, struts, prods and ‘bike components’ for their 2017 challenge. C-Tech has also supplied most of the other America’s Cup teams with their prods and a number of compression struts.

Emirates Team New Zealand’s 2017 challenge has been one of the most dramatic in their history with C-Tech.

Days before America’s cup qualifying was due to start Emirates Team New Zealand damaged a rudder. C-Tech got the call to build an emergency replacement. The C-Tech crew pulled together and rostered a 24 hour shift to get two weeks work completed in five days.

Two weeks later just hours after Emirates Team New Zealand’s capsize on the Great Sound during qualifying meant another phone call to the C-Tech team. Within hours the emergency order order of fairings and struts were being built. They were completed and shipped to Bermuda in record time.

Emirates Team New Zealand Shore Manager Sean Regan commented of C-Tech “They have taken on a key role building specialised componentry as part of the build group for our current AC class yacht. The team at C-Tech ensures the constant last minute changes to design and construction are communicated, planned and implemented efficiently to ensure the parts are completed on time and quality controls remain at the highest standard”.

C-Tech has welcomed the change in America’s Cup sailing format, C-Tech co-founder Alex Valling’s explains “Over the last five campaigns we have seen a massive change in technology - foiling has turned sailing on its head. There has been a huge amount of learning needed from the teams, which has given us a fantastic opportunity to learn with them, and keep abreast of the latest developments and manufacturing techniques.”

So where to next?

Latest developments at C-Tech include a significant increase in expertise and diversification of skills. A plotter and a new laminating and wrapping machine, along with the addition of a world-class clean room mean C-Tech is able to embark on more ambitious projects than ever before.

As the team enters the next chapter of business growth, one thing is for sure, change is the only certainty, as the composites industry is constantly advancing with improvements in technology. C-Tech is set for the challenge.

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