Emirates Team New Zealand’s ability to handle the summer howler underscores their expertise in mastering the dynamic challenges of the Hauraki Gulf. The footage reflects the team’s commitment to excellence and readiness to face the unpredictable conditions that come with high-performance sailing.
These are the days where, time and again, we’ve seen the Kiwis excel with an almost nonchalant brilliance born from deep experience and a very tight-knit group of sailors who just instinctively know when, where and how to push. However, the added uncertainty of effectively two completely new foils, you would have thought would have weighed on that innate confidence as gusts of 28 knots rifled down the harbour waterways. Not a bit of it.
This was a masterclass of control and accuracy with Pete Burling and Nathan Outteridge driving deep lines downwind and executing some of the smoothest transitions to date. Blair Tuke, the seemingly beating heart of the crew, and Andy Maloney kept the ride height low and the trim on point with as much focus on the aero as the hydro, leaving the foils to do their work at the command of their helms, deeply immersed – no wing tip riding today – and concentrating on high traveller control and mainsheet ease. The J-3 jib was pretty much a sharp blade all day with high forestay tension whilst the conundrum of the double skinned mainsail was addressed with huge cunningham loads despite the result still being over-powered for much of the session.
Certainly not a day for throwing the LEQ12 moded AC40 around – the team only executed 17 manoeuvres over the two-hour session more out of necessity that practice – it was long straight lines with the pressure put firmly down on the foils to extract the data that the Emirates Team New Zealand Performance Analysts both on the Chase Boat and ashore will have been craving. At times that Chase Boat came alongside with the team photographer arched over the RIB sidewalls to get as close a shot as possible of the foils under load and in action. All round it was a team performance of the highest quality.
Speaking afterwards, Blair Tuke spoke about the day saying; “Epic day down on the Hauraki Gulf, out nice and early, it was going to keep building throughout the day so even then it was right at the top end, but the boat was going good, nice to test both the foils up range and yeah came away with a lot of good takeaways.”
Specifically talking about the foil and aero test schedule, Blair added: “It’s just good to see the foils over a big range and you want to jump on these days when you can, especially now we’re feeling pretty comfy in those conditions so pushing up range and really just seeing what they can do, what the boat can do, also some good stuff for the sails so it’s not all just about the foils so yeah all in all a good day we had Bobby (Bobby Kleinschmit – foil designer for ETNZ) jump onboard for a bit which was cool to get him out and see something of the foil stuff first hand.”
And the healthy, friendly banter between Blair and Andy Maloney continued with Blair claiming the speed record today: “Well I heard Andy bagged me out the other day after New Year so would have to be on our side I think, we would probably have had a few knots on them!” Unlikely but good to hear…
Impressive performance today from the Defenders of the 37th America’s Cup, proving once again what a potent sailing force they are in the upper wind ranges no matter whether it’s an AC40 or the AC75 – as they proved on the final windy days in Barcelona last summer. How they develop both in technique and tech over the coming weeks and months will be an interesting watch. (Magnus Wheatley)
On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: An epic, high-end day 58 testing, out on the gulf for Emirates Team New Zealand on the LEQ12. With breeze averaging in the low twenties and gusts into the high twenties, the team were really pushing the limits of these two new similar design foils.
The team docked out at 10:00 for a brief, but almost non-stop, 2 hour session, hoisting the M2-3 main and J3-2 jib. While this is their heavier air configuration, it was still far too much sail area for today and it was only downwind that we saw the main sheeted properly. For the rest of the time, the team sailed with loads of ease, traveller down and appeared to be very overpowered at times.
Not a whole lot of manoeuvres were carried out today with only 9 tacks and 8 gybes. Instead the focus seemed to be on loading these new foils up and testing the limits. It was interesting to also note the upwind heel angles were very different to what we have seen in the past. Whether this is to do with these new foil shapes or just the high-end nature of the wind today, we will have to keep observing more. The team barely sailed with any windward heel especially on the upwinds. In fact at times, they were purposely loading on the foil with a good few degrees of leeward heel. On the starboard foil there was little to no piercing of the wing tip. On port there was a little more piercing seen, noting that the port foil has a less aggressively curved wing tip. A lot of lower modes were also seen today but with very impressive upwind speeds being recorded of up to approximately 37 knots.
It was an impressive day to be out on the water with Emirates Team New Zealand, and even in these high-end conditions, for most of the time, the team seemed to be in good control of the boat. Even the high speed exits out of gybes and manoeuvres seemed fast and stable today with no real wipe-outs, just a couple of small crash downs which appeared to be due to cavitations from misreading ride heights or piercing through waves. When arriving back at the dock, all the team seemed happy with the day and data collected.