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America's Cup: The Dolphin has an early morning play on the Waitemata

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 3 Nov 2019 18:57 PST 4 November 2019
Te Aihe - Emirates Team New Zealand heels to leeward lifting her wing clear of the water during a bear away- Waitemata Harbour - November 4, 2019 © Richard Gladwell /

Te Aihe, Emirates Team New Zealand's first AC75 got out of the boatshed for another training session, Monday morning as the Southern Hemisphere moves into late spring. Summer officially starts next month.

Here's an image gallery of Te Aihe (the Dolphin) at play Monday morning before heading off in to the outer Hauraki Gulf for a sailing session in the bright sunlight and warm breeze.

These shots are taken from ashore - but close enough to hear the AC75 foiling easily in the 8-10kt offshore breeze.

While pundits and trolls put a lot of emphasis put on foiling tacks and gybes, and whether the AC75 actually stays "dry", it seems to be a moot point with Te Aihe. On some tacks and gybes she doesn't actually stay flying throughout, but the touchdown is more of a kiss or slide on the water, as her bustle makes contact and does its job. If it does happen the water contact is brief, and there is no noticeable drop in speed. There is no doubt that the AC75 gets onto her foils quickly.

The choreography of a gybe or tack is still a work in progress, with some spectacular splash and high speed spray as the windward wing first makes knife-like contact with the water. As with the AC50 the tack and gybe is made with both foils in the water, but with the AC75 doing a rather neat roll to leeward at the end of the tack/gybe to lift the new windward foil quickly out of the water, without using the foil control system to do all the work. The manoeuvre has the effect of reducing foil drag much more quickly and the acceleration is noticeable.

Counting the time, we didn't even get to two seconds from fully immersed to flying clear - hard to say if the AC75 is faster onto her foils than the AC50 - there is no perceptible difference - and that's from watching up close on the water, rather than on video.

Please excuse the shadow in some shots - the sun was still quite low and very bright - Summer's here.

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