Please select your home edition
Allen Brothers

America's Cup Rialto: Sept 14 - The Waitemata Rodeo

by Richard Gladwell/ 14 Sep 18:46 PDT 15 September 2020
Emirates Team New Zealand - Waitemata Harbour - September 14, - 36th America's Cup © Richard Gladwell /

In contrast to Saturday's sunshine, blue skies, and the 4 o'clock 15kt breeze, winter returned on Monday, with a SW (offshore breeze) averaging 20kts for the duration of the session, gusting 25kts but with much stronger rain squalls.

One squall came through at 30kts gusting 33kts, which caught American Magic, after Emirates Team New Zealand had packed up and towed home, missing the worst of it.

Defiant made the right call, getting in a couple of hours more sailing in the extreme conditions - which for most of the day were over the wind limit for AC75 racing. However like in Bermuda, the wind limit system only applies in a five minute period of the prestart, and once through that test period the race continues, regardless - provided competitor safety is not compromised.

Te Aihe docked out at 1000hrs sailing down the harbour riding one of many squalls in the 20-25kts range, but looking very comfortable in the conditions.

The AC75 gybed off the wall at Orakei and then pinned her ears back and took off down harbour headed for Motuihe - at who knows how many times windspeed. Impressively Te Aihe stayed in level flight and just sailed fast - very fast. The sort of performance you'd expect to see in 10-12kts, but the SW breeze funneling out of the Waitemata is an impressive, nasty breeze, and a real cage-fight for the AC75's.

The kiwis literally smoked down the harbour heading for Motuihe - with the steamy high speed spray being carried away by the breeze, rather than its more usual exit after being jetted off the foil arms.

Emirates Team New Zealand seemed to have caught the recon teams napping, with Luna Rossa's RIB flying down the harbour and taking a shortcut between the reefs off Mission Bay to join Te Aihe - doing speed training in "The Paddock" off Eastern Beach and behind Browns Island. The conditions there should have been more steady than in the Waitemata. It was interesting that in the top-end conditions the Kiwis were still speed testing - no doubt checking their different wing and bulb shapes that have made it to the AC75 from the test boat Te Kahu.

This was the second day on which the two AC75's have both been on the Waitemata - and in these conditions it was mildly intriguing to see where they headed, to avoid infringing the Protocol prohibition on co-ordinated sailing. In lighter winds they would no doubt have headed out into the old America's Cup course area in the outer hauraki Gulf - but in these winds it was not an option.

As usual, Te Aihe did a couple of runs before heading for The Paddock.

Perhaps more prudently, American Magic towed past an hour later, when the breeze was averaging 23kts and solidly gusting to 27kts according to real time readings from Northern Leading beacon, 1.5nm from the harbour entrance - and passed by the AC75's as they head out for a day's sailing.

They set up about mid-way between North Head and Moutihe Island at the eastern end of the harbour, and did a run back to North Head, but parted company with the water in spectacular fashion on the return reach (see yet to be published story and images).

Other matters called and we returned just after 1.00pm to find ETNZ making a final run before shutting down for the day well - she was down towards Motuihe, and sail or tow - it was a long, and cold trip home.

ETNZ towed home in the strongest rain squall of the day with the breeze averaging 28kts and gusting 35kts for a 20 minute period. Defiant sat impressively alongside her chase-boat, head to wind and with her mainsail hoisted, before unhitching, setting a small jib and sailing away.

She continued a race training session around markes laid by the team - sailing well in the conditions which had eased back to 23-27kts.

However she managed a spectacular nosedive after her rudder ventilated again (see yet to be published story for the photo-sequence). After a reflecting on the incident American Magic impressively continued with their training circuit in a slightly softer, but still very willing breeze, before sailing home.

Tawhirimatea the Maori God of Wind and Storms hadn't finished with Defiant, slamming her with another rain squall averaging 25kts, gusting 30plus before she passed Auckland wharves, container base and downtown high-rises. Defiant backed off a little, but then charged up the harbour in a gust before she passed Devonport Wharf and was gone from sight.

Unsurprisingly, neither team has elected to train today, Tuesday - with winds averaging 30kts, gusting 40kts.

Emirates Team New Zealand - Waitemata Harbour - September 14, 2020 - 36th America's Cup - photo © Richard Gladwell /

Related Articles

Emirates Team NZ open simulator to the public
Emirates Team NZ open simulator to public in new 5G Racezone at the ETNZ base Spark has launched its 5G Race Zone, an immersive multi-sensory experience that gets New Zealanders closer to the America's Cup than ever before. The centrepiece of the 5G Race Zone is the Emirates Team New Zealand simulator. Posted on 28 Sep
America's Cup: 12 mths of AC75 sailing reviewed
It has been 12 months since the AC75's started sailing - how has the class and event shaped up? It has been 12 months since the first AC75's started sailing - Emirates Team New Zealand in Auckland, and American Magic in Rhode Island. There's just three months to the first/third America's Cup World Cup Series. Posted on 27 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Taking on the white water
Defiant was the only AC75 sailing today, docking out just before noon heading for a seabreeze After yesterday's action on the Waitemata Harbour with Emirates Team New Zealand and American Magic sailing in a staged race, today was very tame by comparison. Defiant was the only AC75 sailing today, docking out just before noon Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Two AC75's race in Auckland
The two AC75's currently in Auckland met up on the Waitemata Harbour on Monday afternoon The two AC75's currently in Auckland met up on the Waitemata Harbour this afternoon for the first shoot-out of the 36th America's Cup. Fortuitously the two teams were both training on Course C. Updated with an amazing 19 minute video Posted on 21 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: AC75's dodge a bullet
Both AC75's were out sailing in Auckland on Thursday, sailing once again in fresh breezes offshore Both AC75's were out sailing in Auckland on Thursday, sailing once again in fresh breezes offshore breezes of 18-20kts, gusting 22kts. The next day, Auckland was hit by a surprise 70kt squall, which gusted to 55kts on Course C. Posted on 18 Sep
Baffling Youth America's Cup decision
Rugby deal raises questions over cancellations of Youth America's Cup and other events Leading sailing journalist, editor and winning America's Cup team manager, Alan Sefton comments on the recent rejection by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of the Youth America's Cup Posted on 17 Sep
America's Cup: Butterworth joins Challenger group
Brad Butterworth to be a contact figure and facilitate a direct communication flow with the hosts Four times America's Cup winner, Brad Butterworth, joins COR 36, Challenger of Record of the 36th America's Cup presented by PRADA, in the capacity of External and Institutional Relations Officer. Posted on 17 Sep
America's Cup: NZ vessels get new marina offer
Silo & Viaduct marinas offer new deal for NZ vessels and offer bond refund for visitor vessels The official marinas of the 36th America's Cup have tacked in response to a wind shift in superyacht visitation rules - opening 28 berths up to Kiwi vessels at standard rates, while offering overseas boats bond refunds. Posted on 16 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: AC75 gymnastics
American Magic's AC75 Defiant performed some spectacular gymnastics on Monday American Magic's AC75 Defiant performed spectacular leaps and nosedives on Monday - when training in winds well above the racing limit. She recovered from both incidents without capsizing despite the high-risk sailing in winds above the racing limits. Posted on 15 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Sept 12 - The 4 o'clocker
Te Aihe could be seen sailing with what looked to be lighter air sails including Code Zeros. On Saturday, Emirates Team New Zealand left the dock at 1000hrs in a 15kts breeze, which eased during the day back to 10-12kts. Te Aihe could be seen sailing off Auckland's East Coast Bays with what looked to be lighter air sails including Code Zeros. Posted on 13 Sep
Doyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 BOTTOMRS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - FOOTERETNZShop-TEAMSHOP-728x90 HR Bottom