Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

America's Cup: A day on the Waitemata with Emirates Team NZ's AC75

by Duncan Johnstone/Stuff.co.nz 28 Dec 2019 02:34 PST 28 December 2019
Onboard view of a splashdown - Emirates Team NZ's Te Aihe © Emirates Team New Zealand

Stuff.co.nz's Duncan Johnstone reports on his ride on the Emirates Team NZ chase boat and a training session with the AC75 Te Aihe

Team New Zealand are 30 minutes into a vital testing session when it all comes to a sudden halt.

One minute Te Aihe is foiling beautifully, the next moment the 75-foot monohull splashes down with Peter Burling's voice coming over the intercom, reporting a problem towards the bow.

Back on the chase boat where a mix of team management, designers and spare crew watch the high-speed action unexpectedly stall just metres away, Grant Dalton laments: "It's probably a $5 bracket."

He's not far wrong as an expensive instrument designed to measure wind speed off the front of the boat dangles precariously above the water, literally hanging by an electrical thread.

It's an example of how the smallest component can threaten a multi-million dollar boat.

It's not all plain sailing when an America's Cup team is coming to grips with a new design, particularly when that boat is a state-of-the-art affair that is having its boundaries pushed so hard and so fast.

America's Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand are doing just that and on this day Stuff is invited along for the ride.

There's a long check-list to work through as modifications are put to the test. Small gains can take extraordinary amounts of time to eventuate.

The morning's light conditions on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf make an ideal stage for the massive 200sqm Code Zero sail to be trialled. This is the sail that will be employed when winds are at the bottom end of the limit.

The sail is a tricky beast but it's frighteningly effective. In around 7 knots of breeze, Team New Zealand are finding incredible speed until the frustrating finish to that phase.

The setback is quickly shrugged off because there's always something else to work on.

The salt-crusted crew take a breather and refuel – plenty of nuts, fruit, chocolate, energy bars and fluid are consumed – while the shore-based weather gurus offer hope of more wind deeper in the gulf for the next test assignment.

Burling has the boat weaving through a series of turns. The choreography of the crew is slick as Burling, Blair Tuke and Glenn Ashby move from side to side as the boat swings through tacks and gybes with the grinders staying at their stations. The boat looks stable and the crew confident for the relatively short time they have had together since it was launched in September though their testing later in the week would be marked by their first capsize, a mishap they quickly shrugged off without injury or damage.

As as always, time is ticking away. The first America's Cup World Series regatta is scheduled for Late April in Calgliari, Italy. A second will follow midyear in Portsmouth, England before the syndicates relocate to Auckland for next year's Christmas Cup which will be the curtainraiser to the Prada Cup challenger series in January and February 2021. The winner of that sails against Team New Zealand in the America's Cup match.

For the rest of this story and videos click here

Related Articles

America's Cup Event body obtains Court injunction
America's Cup Event Ltd obtains High Court injunction on confidential report publication America's Cup Event Ltd and Team New Zealand Ltd have obtained an injunction in the High Court in Auckland restraining media from publishing the contents of a confidential draft report on the $40m Event Fee expenditure Posted today at 11:18 am
America's Cup: Team New Zealand hits the headlines
Early Wednesday afternoon Team New Zealand issued a lengthy statement over a leaked letter Emirates Team NZ has issued a statement in response to claims in a leaked confidential letter from the CEO's of Auckland Council and MBIE, published on the front page of the Wednesday morning edition of NZ Herald. Posted on 1 Jul
America's Cup: Kiwis and Americans hit the water
The 36th America's Cup entered a new phase today with the launching of New York Yacht Club's AC75 The 36th America's Cup entered a new phase today with the launching of New York Yacht Club's AC75 this morning from the BBC Destiny. Out on the Hauraki Gulf, Emirates Team NZ's AC75, Te Aihe went sailing for the first time in more than four months Posted on 30 Jun
America's Cup: Three years on and not long to go
The 27th of June in New Zealand, will always be a day for celebration amongst Kiwi sailing fans 26th of June in Bermuda and the 27th of June in New Zealand, no matter what year, will always be a day of reflection of winning the 35th America's Cup for many kiwis. Posted on 26 Jun
America's Cup: Third anniversary of Kiwi win
Three years ago at 14.33PM Bermuda time, on June 26, Emirates Team NZ won the final race Three years ago at 14.33PM Bermuda time, on June 26, Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line off the Royal Dockyard, Bermuda to win the 35th Match for the America's Cup. Posted on 26 Jun
America's Cup: A taste of the Summer of 2021
America's Cup have published a new video highlighting the three America's Cup regattas America's Cup have published a new video highlighting the three America's Cup regattas due to be held in Auckland starting December 17, 2020. It features video for all four teams - three Challengers and the Defender. Posted on 24 Jun
Planet Sail Episode 4
Exclusive interview with double America's Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli Alinghi boss and founder Ernesto Bertarelli rarely does interviews, but in my exclusive meeting with the man who won the America's Cup twice and started a Cup revolution in the process, he reveals his views of the past present and future in the Cup world. Posted on 24 Jun
America's Cup: Te Kahu turns in the dry laps
Last Tuesday, Emirates Team NZ finished their block of development on their test boat Te Kahua Last Tuesday, Emirates Team New Zealand finished their block of development on their test boat Te Kahu with some racing practice on part of Course C, between North Head and Orakei Wharf. Posted on 23 Jun
America's Cup: Images from the South side
Images of Emirates Team NZ test boat Te Kahu, going through race practice around three laid marks On Wednesday Sail-World's camera crossed the harbour for a different take on the Emirates Team NZ test boat Te Kahu, going through race practice around three laid marks on the Waitemata Harbour - on Course C. Posted on 19 Jun
Bridging the gender gap to the America's Cup
Will the mixed crews of the Youth America's Cup help get more gender balance in the America's Cup? The crews in next summer's Youth America's Cup must have two females and two males on board. Is this a step closer to getting more women on board America's Cup boats? Posted on 18 Jun
Cyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERGul 2020 FOOTERSOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS728-X-90 Bottom