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America's Cup Rialto - July 27: American Magic has first sail on the Waitemata

by Richard Gladwell/ 27 Jul 2020 06:21 PDT 27 July 2020
American Magic - Waitemata Habour - Auckland - America's Cup 36 - July 27, © Richard Gladwell, / nz

America's Cup Rialto is a new series for the 36th America's Cup, and will publish each day an Americas's Cup boat sails - with images of the day. Usually there will be a morning report (NZT) based on when the boats have passed North Head - when there is usually the best photo opportunity, but worst light angle.

The Rialto report will be an update late in the day, when the boats come back - this is much harder to predict - but gives the best shots. In between we watch the training session, and practice long range photography, from wherever is closest to that area.

The New York Yacht Club's America's Cup team, American Magic became the first Challenger to sail on the Waitemata Harbour, putting in an almost six hour session.

After leaving the dock at 10.40am, Defiant's crew had to cool their heels waiting for the breeze to build and were rewarded with an 8kt SE breeze - enough for Defiant to get foiling in the Waitemata Harbour.

Soon after rounding North Head, the blue hulled scow got foiling again, but had the misfortune to break a jib halyard requiring a time-out while the crew rigged a new halyard.

With that issue resolved, Defiant made a run down the Rangitoto Channel, past the Rangitoto lighthouse and headed out into the Hauraki Gulf, for a serious sailing session with a #1 headsail, before returning and setting a smaller #2 jib.

Other than the halyard issue, Defiant turned an impressive performance given that the team hadn't sailed for five months.

The AC75 looked to be very stable in flight, without any splashdowns in the light steady breeze. Defiant looked to get onto her foils quite easily, but struggled a little around North Head, throwing a lot of spray before getting airborne in what were recorded as 8-10kts from the Northern Leading weather station.

Skipper Terry Hutchinson gave his verdict on the day: We had a good day on the Waitemata. The wind gods shone on us, and we were able to get a full range of conditions. A necessary step and good to achieve the first day of training at the venue."

Sailing is possible on the next three days - with NE (onshore) winds in the 10-18kt range, freshening on Friday to 25kts and through the weekend.

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