Emirates Team New Zealand today unveiled its second AC72 with a low-key ceremony at the team’s Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, base.
Barely six months after the team’s first AC72 catamaran started testing the second boat was ready for the water, another significant milestone accomplished as the team prepares for its challenge for the 34th America’s Cup.
Auckland’s weather today did not co-operate. After weeks on bright sun and light winds, the city was overcast, wet, cool and windy.
The brisk north-easterly breeze was gusting to 28 knots and the team decided not to risk lifting the boat into the water after it was blessed by Ngati Whatua o Orakei.
Managing director Grant Dalton said: “We were ready to launch but the weather wasn’t. Even though we didn’t lift the boat we met another of our self-imposed deadlines.
“America’s Cup rules did not allow the launch of a second boat until last Friday, February 1 (San Francisco time), effectively Saturday in New Zealand. We settled for a Monday launch for the second boat three months ago.”
“With the gusts making the wing lift difficult this morning, it was prudent not to risk damage at the start of a busy testing programme.
“Tomorrow the test programme gets underway with load testing and the new boat will be sailing later this week.”
The team finished the first AC72’s 30-day sailing programme on December 12, two days earlier than scheduled, and we immediately switched focus to finishing and commissioning the second boat.
Dalton said the entire team had put a huge amount of work into meeting today’s deadline.” Our people have been working six- and seven-day weeks and they have had little family time for months.
Dalton said the base would be closed for four days from next Friday to give everyone a little down time. “It’s a small reward for such a massive effort and a job well done.
“Now the reality is we have only five months before we start racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup. Before that we will do two months of intensive testing in Auckland. We suspend the test programme in early April and pack the cats, chase boats, base structures, workshops, offices, gym, kitchens and stores for the move to San Francisco.
“The last of the America’s Cup world series regattas will be held at Naples, Italy, starting on April 16. That will take some of the sailing team, shore crew, logistics and admin people out of play for a couple of weeks.
“We will be sailing the AC72 in San Francisco towards the end of May. Racing starts on July 7.”