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Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Team New Zealand Prefer Auckland For AC Buildup

Team New Zealand are planning to arrive late in Bermuda, not wanting to give away anything to their America's Cup rivals.

Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby expects their new AC50, the foiling catamaran to be sailed in Bermuda, will be launched in Auckland later this month.

They would undergo much of their buildup in Auckland before using their 28-day non-sailing period to transport the boat to Bermuda.

Ashby believes the Kiwis can benefit more from carrying on their testing and development in Auckland rather than under they eye of their rivals in Bermuda where official racing starts on May 26th.

Their theory runs against the planning of the bulk of their rivals.

Team New Zealand and French outfit Groupama are the only two of the six syndicates not based in Bermuda yet.

"We will be the last team there, but the Great Sound in Bermuda is not a huge area to sail and test in, and we will have a better testing area in the Hauraki Gulf. We are very comfortable with our program, and will be coming in there hot at the end," Ashby told NewstalkZB.

"We'll be there in plenty of time - but won't be in Bermuda as long as the other teams."

"It's all going well and we are in fantastic shape. We're aiming for a launch towards the end of the month," he told NewstalkZB of the new boat that will carry Kiwi hopes of winning back the cup.

"Once we are happy with it we will pull the trigger and go into race mode, and start sailing mock race courses, practice courses and concentrating on the performance aspects all the way through.

"We're really looking forward to the challenge, and as people will see on the harbour this boat will be a very impressive machine."

Ashby predicts the AC50's will be as much as 30 per cent faster than the 72-foot catamarans used at the last cup in 2013, and would have better performance through the mid-range wind conditions expected in Bermuda.

Rivals teams face a tricky scenario now around launches their cup yachts and having them on ice for 28 days through the agreed blackout period agreed by the six syndicates.

They have already begun dismantling their Auckland base and sending structures and equipment to Bermuda in containers.

AMERICA'S CUP 2017 how the syndicates sit

Emirates Team New Zealand:
Cup boat expected to be launched end of January. Bulk of late buildup to be done in Auckland before transfer to Bermuda. Parts of Auckland base already being deconstructed and shipped north.

Oracle Team USA: The cup holders have had more time in Bermuda than their rivals. Well funded, they are expected to sit out their blackout in January and train in test boats in the meantime. Expect their race boat to be launched in February.

Groupama Team France: The other syndicate yet to arrive in Bermuda. They plan to have their team their in February and be in the water in March. A lack of a test boat to sail alongside their race boat is a handicap.

Land Rover BAR: Sir Ben Ainslie's British syndicate has been well-resourced. They have been in Bermuda since December with plenty of sailing done on in the sound in previous visits. Their new race boat has arrived there but they are likely to take their blackout period early and start sailing it in February. They have a test boat to use in tandem with their race boat

SoftBank Team Japan: The cup latecomers are benefiting from design partnership with holders Oracle, Dean Barker's syndicate are already well established in Bermuda. They will have a test boat to operate alongside their race boat.

Artemis Racing: The Swedish syndicate are well versed with Bermuda conditions and have been using two test boats for training and development. All eyes will be on their cup yacht.
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