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The America's Cup countdown clock is ticking loudly

by Emirates Team New Zealand 18 Jan 23:23 PST
Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 Prototype - January 2024 - Auckland © Emirates Team New Zealand

Amazingly, it is the year of the America’s Cup again already. 2024 is upon us, and for Emirates Team New Zealand it comes with a familiar mix of excitement and intensity. The clock is ticking louder suddenly, as the team hit the ground running with its first full week back on the job.

“There are many critical phases of an America’s Cup campaign, but this is certainly right up there.” explained Emirates Team New Zealand COO Kevin Shoebridge. “The windows are closing on the final design decisions, the timelines for production are tightening, and every week on our schedule between now and the start of racing with the Preliminary Regatta on August 22nd really needs to stay on track.”

In 7 months, racing will begin in anger in Barcelona- but there is a mountain of milestones to achieve before then- most significant of which is the completion and launch of what is currently referred to as ‘Boat 3’- the boat that will be used to defend the America’s Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand Coach Ray Davies is positive about the year ahead saying, “It’s really exciting to be looking at the challenges ahead with obviously the new boat coming online soon. But this is the year of the America's Cup which is all about technology, so this is the year that the design team and everyone in the team gets to expose what they've been up to behind closed doors for so long.”

The team were back out on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf this week sailing their AC40 in testing and development mode, putting the latest foil iteration through its paces and testing processes, with the joint reconnaissance team keeping a very close eye on every aspect of on water testing.

“Back in the LEQ12, we’ve got a new foil on there this week which has been of interest. It’s always good getting new kit onboard, so that’s our main focus over the next couple of days is evaluating its performance.” said Davies.

It is these vital evaluations of the team’s last test foil allowed by the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup, that will decide the ultimate shape and intricate characteristics of Boat 3’s race foils. So it is a busy time inside the teams base tucked away in Auckland’s Wynyard Point as well as the committed team of boat builders working tirelessly at the Emirates Team New Zealand production facility in Albany.

Helmsman Nathan Outteridge is well aware of the stage of the campaign.

“We're getting to the busy end of the campaign now. Final test foil, final year of the campaign. There is only nine months to go and it will all be over, but right now there are a lot of things to tick off here in Auckland before we head off to Barcelona.

So, the holiday is over and we're ready to get back into it.”

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