The gears shift quickly at Emirates Team New Zealand. After an intense few weeks launching, commissioning and training onboard Taihoro in Auckland, sailing 14 out of 18 days in late April and early May, there was no time to slow down. The moment Taihoro hit the dock and was rolled back into the shed the focus quickly shifted gear into full pack up mode.

Packing Up and Shipping Out

A seemingly endless supply of gun metal grey shipping containers has been rotated, packed and stacked around the Wynyard Point base continuously for the past few weeks. The chase boats and Taihoro are already shipping north. The migration of the team and all its assets to Barcelona happens with military precision. 

 “We have had a bit of practice with logistics and shipping over the years but it is always very full on,” said Kevin Shoebridge. “It is a huge task for Andy Nottage logistically and the likes of Sean Regan and the wider shore team ensuring everything is packed securely and leaves in a precise order out the door for its subsequent arrival into Barcelona.”

The arrival of containers and equipment is paramount when looking ahead to the construction of the workshops and wider working space within the Emirates Team New Zealand Barcelona base, all with the ultimate objective of being ready to receive Taihoro and prepare the yacht and the team to get back out on the water in Barcelona as soon as possible.

As if that is not enough to keep the team busy, a dual operation has been running in parallel with the two boat AC40 match race training schedule for the sailing team, along with training of the Emirates Team New Zealand Women & Youth crews.

Ray Davies, Emirates Team New Zealand Coach has been central to running an efficient on water program and maximising the short hours of autumn daylight each day for both purposes.

“We have had a great spell on the water over the past couple of weeks with the AC40’s.” said Davies. “We have had some highly competitive match race training for our sailing team, Nathan Pete, Andy & Blair have been locking horns with Josh Junior and Sam Meech with Marcus Hansen and Gemma Jones in the trimming positions. It is prestart and race scenarios that are always a huge step up in intensity from what can be achieved in the simulators, so the team have been getting a lot out of it.”

© Emirates Team New Zealand

Speaking of which, the AC40 simulators have been a highly effective tool for the women and youth sailors, but time onboard the AC40’s is the vital progression the crews before the AC40’s are packed for shipping themselves and several of the sailors head to France for the Olympic games. (Jo Aleh & Molly Meech- 49erFX /  Erica Dawson- Nacra / Veerle Ten Have- IQ Foil windsurfing / Josh Armit- IQ Foil windsurfing)

Davies has been impressed with what he has been seeing. “Our women & youth sailors have been putting in some really long days out on the water maximising every minute onboard the AC40 they can and working through the different combinations of positions on the boat.

© Emirates Team New Zealand

It has been a bit of a baptism of fire for the women & youth in a way, as we have thrown them into the cauldron a bit. So, they have not only had to get to grips with learning the ropes of the AC40s, but they have also very quickly found themselves in some very aggressive and competitive training scenarios which will be invaluable for them. It’s been really encouraging to see the sailing teams working together to progress the level across everyone.”

The packing, shipping and migration north will continue for the next month with the massive task of booking over 300 Emirates flights and securing multiple Barcelona apartments for team members and their families by Steph Stubbs. All ready before the team arrive to reassemble at the Barcelona base in preparation for Taihoro’s first sail in just over 1 one month’s time..