Team New Zealand First to Launch >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Team New Zealand First to Launch >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News:



A large gathering of sponsors, suppliers, team members and their families, politicians, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, along with the general public attended the ceremony outside the Emirates Team New Zealand base. Team New Zealand christened their new America’s Cup yacht “Te Aihe”, Maori for dolphin, at the official launch in Auckland.

The name Te Aihe (Dolphin) is based on the whakatauki (proverb):“Mā te Aihe e tuitui ai i te ngaru moana, mā te Rangatira e tuitui ai i te tangata”. “As the dolphin sows through the seas so does a leader sew people together”.

It was the first AC75 launched by any of the five teams that will be involved at Auckland 2021. Challengers Luna Rossa of Italy, INEOS Team UK, American Magic and Stars + Stripes Team USA will sail against each other with the winner going on to race Team New Zealand for the Auld Mug.

The boat was christened at 7.35am on September 6, 2019, local time in Auckand, by Marcus Gerbich, a member of the Motor Neuron Disease Association, which is the team’s official charity. The sleek 75-foot boat, painted black, red, grey and white, was blessed by Ngati Whatua who have a long association with the yachting syndicate.

The revolutionary design was suspended on a crane outside the base and splashed in the water after the traditional champagne moment. It didn’t feature its huge mast.

Ironically, just as much of it was on show yesterday when it sat in a cradle on the base’s forecourt, having its mast maneuvered into position by a large crane. Its hull and foil arms were clearly on display with shrouding not allowed under the rules that govern this 36th edition of the America’s Cup.

It is estimated the state-of-the-art boat took more than 100,000 man hours to design and build with around 65 people involved in that process. For the first time Team New Zealand have fully built their own boat at a purpose-built facility on Auckland’s North Shore.

TNZ chief executive Grant Dalton said it was a nervy time for him during the launch with the boat hoisted in the air. “It is a special morning for us, it’s been a long time coming. It’s emotionally stressful watching a boat up in the air at a launch like this. It rained, which I’m told is good luck. It’s been low key, which is the way we wanted it.”

Team New Zealand ace Peter Burling can’t wait to go from the virtual world to reality after months spent on a state-of-the-art simulator. That experience is about to be replaced by the real thing, with the revolutionary 75-foot foiling monohull launch and sailing at the first weather-appropriate opportunity.

Much of the initial work will be about calibrating the real boat against what was revealed on the simulator and understanding how to fully power and maximize a yacht that has never been seen before, let alone sailed. This is racing on a whole new scale.

“It’s going to be incredible to get it out and start debugging it,” Burling said of a boat he has had plenty of input into through the design and build process. “We have a massive list of things to check off. We’ve been looking at it getting built for the last little while now and it’s incredible to see it all coming together. It’s going to be a pretty cool spectacle for everyone to see. It just pushes the sport that much further and the performance that much further.”

(Photo source)

The livery reminds me of ETNZ’s cool asymmetrical “swirly” look from circa-2008. Their current uniforms are sadly not as gloriously swirly, though. 

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Tags: wow, ac75.

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