The Defender of the 37th America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand, have made a welcome addition to the skyline of Barcelona, becoming the fourth team to launch and sail at the Cup venue.
The team became operational a day ahead of schedule to launch their AC75 ‘Te Rehutai’ – the America’s Cup winning boat from AC36 – into a favourable weather window and began the process of re-commissioning the AC75 after its three-and-a-half-week boat journey up from Auckland.
The Emirates Team New Zealand’s base is now operational ahead of the arrival of the team’s One-Design AC40 that the sailors will train on ahead of the first Preliminary Regatta in Vilanova i La Geltrú from 14-17th September. The new base sited along the World Trade Centre promontory and within sight of the famous statue of Christopher Columbus pointing out to sea at the start of Las Ramblas, features a stunning decal of the Barcelona skyline on the water-facing structure.
First impressions of Barcelona have been overwhelmingly positive with helmsman Peter Burling commenting: “Much has been made of the Barcelona conditions and swell so it was good to get a first taste of the water where we will battle out the next Americas Cup. We have plenty to learn and a range of different conditions to get out into and experience plus how we need to change the way we sail the boat or how we configure things. It’s going to be a busy time here.”
Co-helm onboard ‘Te Rehutai’ Nathan Outteridge, was clearly pleased to be in Barcelona for this training block saying: “For us one of the biggest things that we really want to find out here is how the conditions are compared to what we’ve sailed in a lot, and that will affect the ultimate design of the race boat. So being up here in the AC75 that the team’s done a lot of sailing in previously, sailing in these conditions and learning the sea states and the wind that’s kind of what we really want to get out of being up here and just getting used to the environment.”
And Nathan further added: “So far with the sea breezes we’ve had, we’ve had a lot of conditions where the wind’s been quite stable so it’s been good for us to really concentrate on sailing the boat as accurately as we can and it’s a good venue here to validate the VPP performance of the boat because when you have stable wind you can get a really good feel for how it’s performing.”
Emirates Team New Zealand are now into an intense four-month training period that will combine sailing both the AC75 and the One-Design AC40 before returning to Auckland at the end of October for more testing and analysis work on their AC40 in LEQ12 mode in the New Zealand summer.
Sailing in Barcelona at the venue for the 37th America’s Cup will see the team train through the crucial October period when the actual racing for the Cup will take place in 2024 and Ray Davies, the Team Coach is looking forward to sailing through the Mediterranean summer and into the early Autumn, saying: “We’ll certainly be looking to see what we learn over the next few weeks, obviously we’re running out of time to change too much on the new boat, we’re getting pretty locked in with the design, but certainly there’s plenty to do with sails and foils and rudders and elevators so yeah a lot to still learn about but it’s going to be really, really, interesting to see over the next few months how the conditions change.”
The Defenders of the 37th America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand are in town and have hit the ground running.