It has been coming for a while – and both American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have got very, very close – but today the America’s Cup holders, Emirates Team New Zealand, gave a festive reminder as to why they are such a potent force in the Cup world that they dominate.
A straight-out 100% record across 36 tacks and 33 gybes laid down the gauntlet to every other team – and just before the Christmas break. It’s the kind of numbers that have Team Directors and Performance Coaches awake at night. The nightmare before Christmas for some, for sure.
Sailing the newest AC40 Te Kãkahi, the team were mixed up throughout the three-hour session with ILCA Bronze medallist from Rio 2016 Sam Meech coming back into the squad and Marcus Hansen, the Stand Up Paddleboarding champion and 49er tune-up partner for Pete Burling and Blair Tuke continuing his recent run with the team. Josh Junior and Andy Maloney – the two great friends and Finn rivals made up the rotation whilst Nathan Outteridge and Pete Burling helmed but also jumped into the crew positions at times. The mark of this team is everyone pulling together and learning each other’s roles to such a degree that everything becomes second nature, and, on this form, Emirates Team New Zealand are looking a mighty outfit – already.
But complacency is something that the Kiwis are very adept at avoiding and in interview afterwards, Sam Meech was humility personified, saying: It feels like we’re going well, obviously we only know what’s going on through the recon, but it looks like all the other teams are all getting good sailing now. I’d say we’re all keeping on moving forwards and for us it feels like we’re progressing really fast – and it’s just amazing how much work goes on behind the scenes.”
As far as the 100% success rate on manoeuvres was concerned, again Meech, who was trimming today played down the significance saying: “I’m learning to trim…I felt like I was duffing a few of them but yeah it looked probably better off the boat than on, at times.” The recon team certainly didn’t notice too many faults today, noting that: “It looked like a fantastic session out there, in a building breeze…beautiful day…it looked glamorous.” They also noted that the mainsail was over-twisted at the beginning of the session with the new crew members settling into their trimming roles before unleashing the power, dropping down from the J1 to the square-topped J3 as the northerly breeze filtered in, and hitting the biggest completion rates of the training teams so far in this America’s Cup cycle.
It’s the last session of 2022 for Emirates Team New Zealand who hosted their team Christmas party at the base in Auckland this evening, but the work never stops and over the festive break, we can be sure that the relentless pace shoreside will continue. To beat the Kiwis you have to out-work them – and on this measure they are flying.
The New Year is going to be fascinating but for fans of Emirates Team New Zealand all around the world, it’s a very Happy Christmas!
On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Long afternoon session in a building Northly breeze. Boat in full ac40 mode with autopilot on. Six crew rotated through as the session progressed. Stunning day on the harbour. No issues of note seen.
Dock out: 1335 Dock-in: 1705
Helms: Nathan Outteridge / Pete Burling,
Crew: Andy Maloney / Marcus Hansen / Sam Meech / Josh Junior
M1 (OD) Mainsail: 3 hours 30 minutes
J1 (OD): 45 minutes
J3 (OD) Jib: 2 hours 45 minutes
Recon Notes: Sails looked good across the range, with no leach flutter observed. Mast looked to be at the maximum rake setting
Total Tacks: 36 – 36 foil-to-foil – 100%
Total Gybes: 33 – 33 foil-to-foil – 100%
Wind Strength: 7-14 knots (PM) Northerly, 25% cloud cover, 24 degrees
Sea State: Calm
Take off speed: 13 knots at 80 degrees TWA (True Wind Angle)