Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Te Aihe's late afternoon beat-up gives insight into AC75 racing for the America's Cup

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 11 Dec 2019 21:26 PST 12 December 2019
Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - Te Aihe - December 11, 2019, Waitemata Harbour © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

On Wednesday for the third time this week, Emirates Team New Zealand put their AC75 Te Aihe, through her paces following the return of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from the Hyundai 49er Worlds.

Two other sailing crew members Josh Junior and Andy Maloney, are away in Melbourne for the Finn Gold Cup, which starts next week, giving the opportunity for others to get more AC75 experience.

Te Aihe is believed to have undergone substantial modification and enhancements during the two week period behind closed doors at the team base, the team started with two four hour sessions on Monday and Tuesday followed by a monster nine-hour session on Wednesday.

The Wednesday session appeared to be a typical piece of testing - speed runs accompanied by a rest period as data was evaluated, settings checked, and adjustments made. Towards the end, the boat performance seems a lot less erratic, and the development and test process continues.

On the way out, Cup-watchers had the unusual sight of a crew member crawling out on the AC75's raised foil arm to either make a wing flap adjustment, or remove debris.

Returning home in the late afternoon, Te Aihe gives an impression of how racing could look in the Cup, as the AC75 sped up the Rangitoto Channel tacked towards North Head - approaching to within about 50 metres before doing a high-speed roll tack and heading over to the opposite shore. She performs the same manoeuvre off the Tamaki Yacht Club, before taking off at speed up the harbour in her usual mode - flying just above the waves, slightly bow down and heeled to windward.

This was on the area designated as Course C for the 2021 America's Cup - and used for match racing regattas before the courses were moved further up the harbour.

Drawing five metres there is plenty of water close to North Head, a prominent landmark, and extinct volcano, at the entrance to the Waitemata harbour. The AC75 is a jaw-dropping boat to see live, and videos rarely do it justice. Watching a 75ft boat approach at 30kts on foils before spinnings rapidly through a tack, like a downhill skier doing a jump turn, is quite a sight. Somehow whether the boat does a dry tack, or just kisses the water seems irrelevant. However, the speed out of the tack will be a key factor in racing.

Late next week the Match Conditions are due to be published, with wind limits expected to be included. In Bermuda the limit was set at 6 - 24kts maximum measured over a 30 second average in the period of eight minutes to three minutes before the start. Once the three-minute mark was reached (ie three minutes left until the race start), the race would go ahead regardless of what wind strength was reached. For Auckland, given that Te Aihe is seen sailing regularly in winds of 24-25kts, it would seem likely that the Bermuda limit could be increased to 28-30kts. Two rough weather course areas are designated there seems to be a lot more flexibility to ensure that racing is staged in higher wind strengths.

The lower end of the wind range could be set at six-seven knots - whatever the minimum is for foiling in the AC75. Certainly, the foiling monohull is very slow sailing in displacement mode. To get around this same issue in the 2017 Americas Cup with the AC50's, a time limit of 10 minutes applied for Leg 2 (the first downwind leg of the race).

Light weather aside, from what we have seen to date from the AC75, the 36th Match and the Prada Cup will provide the most spectacular racing yet seen in an America's Cup.

Related Articles

America's Cup: A day in the life of an AC75
America's Cup: A day in the life of Emirates Team NZ's AC75 on the Waitemata Harbour A day in the training and development life of Emirates Team NZ's AC75 sailing in Auckland on January 9, 2020. If you haven't seen the AC75 sailing in person, this video is a very accurate portrayal of a typical training and development session. Posted today at 1:25 am
America's Cup: Te Aihe sailing in the seabreeze
Images of Emirates Team NZ's AC75 enjoying a rare seabreeze in Auckland Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75 Te Aihe was out again on Wednesday. Here's a selection of images shot from Sail-World's North Head office around 6.15pm, as she raced back in a moderate onshore (NE) seabreeze Posted on 16 Jan
America's Cup: Challengers images from Cagliari
From Sardinia local photographer Alessandro Spiga provides the first images of INEOS Team From Sardinia, local photographer Alessandro Spiga has kindly provided the first images of INEOS Team UK preparing to launch and on the water for her first sail, which we have combined with some images and video from Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Posted on 16 Jan
America's Cup: Emirates to be Official Cup Airline
Emirates partners with Emirates Team NZ and becomes Official Airline of the 36th America's Cup Emirates partners with Emirates Team NZ and becomes Official Airline of the 36th America's Cup. The 17 year relationship between the champion sailing team and the Emirates airline now embraces five America's Cup cycles. Posted on 13 Jan
America's Cup: ETNZ gives Code Zero a work out
America's Cup: Code Zero day on the Hauraki Gulf for Te Aihe Emirates Team NZ appeared to have a good day testing the Code Zero on their AC75, on a rare light breeze day in Auckland's windy summer. The reappearance of the bowsprit defied Kiwi media speculation over the weekend that there had been a new design move Posted on 13 Jan
America's Cup: Te Aihe's Xmas upgrade is confirmed
Emirates Team NZ skipper has confirmed that their first AC75 had an upgrade over the Xmas break Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Glenn Ashby, has confirmed that the team's first launched AC75 had a major upgrade over the two-week Christmas and New Year break. The bowsprit missing for the first three days of testing has returned. Posted on 10 Jan
America's Cup: Fresh winds test Te Aihe again
Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75 was out for the third day this week in another day of fresh winds Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75 was out for the third day this week, following what looks to have been a major upgrade. The AC75 made a spectacular sight sailing fast and followed with a cloud of fine high speed spray. Posted on 10 Jan
America's Cup: Stoush over wind limits escalates
Challengers appear to be split, Kiwis 'very surprised' over Luna Rossa wind limits stance Team NZ says it is "very surprised to learn that the current stance of the Challenger of Record in relation to wind limits does not reflect the collective position of all Challengers." The Challenger group appears to be split over the process and issue. Posted on 9 Jan
America's Cup: A look at Te Aihe in The Paddock
Emirates Team New Zealand was back on the Waitemata Harbour on Wednesday after the Christmas break Emirates Team New Zealand was back on the Waitemata Harbour on Wednesday after the Christmas break, and losing two days due to winds in excess of 35kts. She has back on board the new world champions in the 49er class and the Finn. Posted on 8 Jan
America's Cup: NYYC irked over Condition delay
New York Yacht Club's skipper is unhappy over the missed deadline publication for Match Conditions New York Yacht Club's skipper is unhappy that the deadline for publication of Match Conditions governing the series wasn't met. He spoke with AP's highly regarded America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson Posted on 8 Jan
iSails 2020 - Spinnaker Spring Discount - FOOTERNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterMarine Resources 2019 - Footer