Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby is relieved after testing the boat for the first time on the America's Cup race course in Bermuda.
The Kiwi boat was put through its paces at the weekend in 10 to 12 knots on the tropical blue flat water in the Great Sound.
Ashby had been like "cat on a hot tin roof" waiting to get back on the New Zealand Aotearoa craft.
"When you look at the calendar it actually hasn't been too long since we last sailed in Auckland, but everything that has happened between times, packing up, flying the boat here and rebuilding it has made it seem a lot longer, the team has done a huge push to get us on the water as soon as possible," Ashby told the Team NZ website.
He said it was more about a recommissioning of the systems and components to make sure everything was working properly.
"But it was really fantastic to get back out there and get a taste of the race course first hand for the first time. It is pretty apparent already that this is going to be a really great regatta up here."
Helmsman Peter Burling quipped on a TNZ video that there were "a few boats with very expensive cameras from a few of the syndicates" following the New Zealand boat's progress.
Team NZ relaunched their race boat with their replacement daggerboards while the finishing repairs continue to be made to their race boards which were damaged in Auckland.
"We would have preferred to have our race boards back in the boat, but we need to be sure the repairs are 100 per cent right so we don't want to rush the repair. Hopefully we will have them come back online very shortly," Ashby said.
With just 34 days to go until the first race of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup qualifiers the urgency for continued development looms large and the team will be making the most of each day, the varying conditions as well as new equipment coming on line.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Astwood Leaves TeamBDA for Team Japan
Connor Astwood becomes the second sailor to leave TeamBDA for Softbank Team Japan, as he has decided to rejoin SoftBank Team Japan ahead of the upcoming America’s Cup.
His decision means he will not take part in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup with TeamBDA.
Until January this year, when he began training full time with TeamBDA, Astwood, who is Japanese-Bermudian, had held a full-time position with SoftBank Team Japan.
Astwood will now resume his role with SoftBank Team Japan.
“Having learned so much from Team BDA it was a tough decision to make. I have made good friends there who I will always be in touch with, and I hope they do well in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup,” says Astwood.
“Now I am back with SoftBank Team Japan, helping in the shed to get the boat ready everyday, and going out on the water in a support boat. Going forward I will be trying to soak in as much of the experience as I can and I hope to learn many things from this world class team.”
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Spithill Thrown from Oracle Team USA Boat
Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill has been flung overboard in the latest America's Cup training drama in Bermuda.
The two-time America's Cup winning skipper was the latest to fall victim of the violent G-forces the sailors contend with on the flying 50-foot catamarans, as he was "slingshotted" off the back of the boat while he was transferring from one hull to the other.
Spithill was unharmed in the incident and was quickly retrieved from the water by the team's chase boat.
When later interviewed on the dock, the 37-year-old Australia was able to see the funny side of his dramatic tumble.
"I got slingshotted off the back," Spithill said.
"I had a split decision to make ... can I stop myself? I made the decision that I could not stop myself."
Spithill felt that he had at least exited the boat in style.
"I gave it a big leap. I had plenty of pace thanks to Kyle Langford giving me a hard turn."
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Americas Cup Rumor Mill Swirling
Are America's Cup defenders Oracle trying to copy Team New Zealand's radical pedal-powered approach?
That's the talk swirling the Bermuda waterfront as the countdown to the start of official racing on May 26th intensifies.
Team New Zealand are using cyclists to fuel the hungry hydraulics that power the control systems for the massive wingsail and foils. The other five syndicates have all opted for traditional arm-power grinding stations.
The theory that legs are stronger than arms appears undeniable and there have been suggestions the Kiwis could have as much as 40 per cent more power available through their innovative system.
A key to winning this America's Cup will be the ability to keep the foiling 50-foot catamarans stable in flight, especially through turns – and power is central to that.
The cloak and dagger America's Cup is never shy of rumours and Italian daily newspaper La Stampa has floated the theory that Oracle Team USA might be ready to replicate the Kiwi system.
Italy don't have a team in this year's Cup following the early withdrawal of Luna Rossa in protest to Oracle changing the rules. But the regatta remains dear to the Italian sailing community.
Team New Zealand have a close relationship with Luna Rossa. They shared design ideas for the 2013 Cup and in this cycle the Italians provided the Kiwis with their test boat and some key personnel when they aborted their own challenge.
Team New Zealand are now in camp in Bermuda and about to put their new boat in the water. They can expect plenty of attention.
The stakes are incredibly high in this regatta. Oracle, Artemis Racing, Team Japan, Team France and BAR (Great Britain) have signed an agreement to keep the current format moving forward, even racing the America's Cup every two years.
Team New Zealand didn't sign off on that and have indicated they would return to a more traditional racing format for the cup.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
New Zealand Hit the Great Sound
Emirates Team New Zealand has hit the water for the first time in Bermuda, ahead of next month's America's Cup regatta.
It wasn't in their ACC boat which only touched down on the Atlantic island a week ago. Instead a handful of team members including tactician Ray Davies surveyed Bermuda's Great Sound from a chase boat. "On a day like today, this is as good as it gets" said Davies of the conditions.
"Perfectly flat water, we haven't really had a cloud in the sky. 12 to 14 knots, it's a glamour."
ETNZ also took the opportunity to cast an eye over the opposition with Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France out sailing.
"They're going pretty well. It's impressive to see these boats sailing, it's always pretty exhilarating."
A second session of organized practice sailing has just concluded without the New Zealand syndicate. They're still in the process of recommissioning their AC50 after air-freighting it from Auckland to Bermuda.
The next practice race period begins on April 24th.
"It'll be really interesting to see how the teams improve over the next couple of weeks."
The first race of the Louis Vuitton Qualifiers is set for May 26th.