Emirates Team New Zealand experienced setbacks yesterday, losing a valuable down-range day due to issues with the new port wing. With Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf transforming overnight into a wind cauldron, the team anticipated upper-range blast conditions to intensify foil testing. However, despite the promising outlook, the day took an unexpected turn.
Rare to see Emirates Team New Zealand at anything other than full bore but whenever the port foil was immersed, inevitably they had the windward board down as well and trundled along until they could get back onto port tack or port gybe and open up the speed and pressure on the legacy foil. We saw some stunning runs on the starboard foil so it was anything but a wasted session but there was certainly the feeling shoreside that it was a day that could have served up so much more.
Speaking afterwards, Peter Burling saw it very much in the long focus of an America’s Cup campaign and spoke positively, saying: “Yeah another awesome day out there, it was the first kind of south-west windy day with full sun that we’ve had for quite a while, so it’s nice to get that change in conditions, obviously a pretty puffy, dynamic kind of day, we just tried to look at a few more things on the foils and sails so really productive day, obviously a little bit short but really happy with it.”
Talking about the port foil issue, Peter added: “We’ve definitely been pushing things pretty hard with the foil so yeah just trying to nurse that one around a little bit today but you know really happy with the data we got and we’ll get it back in the shed and keep marching forward.”
Speaking more broadly about the campaign and the rev-up in action in Barcelona that Emirates Team New Zealand are clearly keeping an eye on, Peter said: “We’re definitely looking at the other teams to see what they’re up to, especially when they launch a new component or a change to a component, but to be honest we’ve looked at a lot of recon of them sailing recently and we’ve got a lot going on here ourselves so you know it’s kind of really that balance of how much you just charge on and put your head down and get into your own work or you look across the fence. But we feel like we’ve got that balance pretty good at the moment and definitely focusing on ourselves at the moment.”
Asked whether the team were missing out on being in Barcelona at the moment, Peter gave a good analysis saying: “I think it’s going to be great to see the first AC75s get launched which is probably like a couple of months’ time now at least, bit more maybe, we’re not quite sure what the other teams are on, but we’re definitely excited to see those boats. I think the conditions are so different in Barcelona right now to what they are in that late summer period that I don’t think that local knowledge is really much to play, and obviously everyone evolves their boats so much as time goes on so it’s really not always where you start, it’s where you finish.”
Plenty more to come from Emirates Team New Zealand in the coming weeks as they push through this crucial final design period. A set-back today perhaps but still plenty of take-aways. (Magnus Wheatley)
On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: A stronger, but typically puffy, southwest breeze blew across the gulf today. Wind speed in knots was into the high teens with gusts into the 20’s and meant Emirates Team New Zealand hoisted the smaller J3 jib and M2 Main off North Head after docking out at 10am.
After hoisting, the team sailed across toward Mission Bay before bearing away and screaming downwind passed Kohi and St Heliers before gybing down near Browns Island. They then sailed for a portion on port tack, back towards Rangitoto Island, before coming to an impromptu stop. It seemed that the guys onboard noticed something out of place on the port foil, and some of the team went over to investigate, including the Chase Boat, which pulled up nice and close to have a look and a chat. From what we could tell, it seemed to be something towards the outboard tip on, or near, the leading edge.
It was evident the team was not happy with something, as the next manoeuvre was a bear away with both foils down and they proceeded to sail downwind like this all the way passed Browns Island into what’s known as the ‘Back Paddock’ training zone. Here, they surprisingly sailed a long starboard tack on the port foil without too much issue. However, at the end of the test, they glided to a slow stop without executing a race manoeuvre, which is a rarity for the sailors.
Once again, they sailed a downwind leg with both foils in the water, really trying to nurse the issue on the port foil. Nearly at Waiheke Island, the team finally turned upwind and from here, sailed a long port tack all the way back to Narrow Neck beach just passed North Head. It was upper range conditions with gusts well over 20 knots. The team looked fairly stable and could be seen sailing some lower and high flight modes and seemed to be really pressing at times and sailing some faster angles. It would be very interesting to see the VMG numbers in these conditions as, from the Recon boat, it always looks as though they are concentrating on lower, faster modes rather than higher, slower modes.
No more manoeuvres were made today and after what was a short and sweet 1.5-hour session, the team came to a stop in the lee of Narrow Neck beach and opted to drop the sails.
Following the issue yesterday on port and another one today, the team would have felt less than happy. Although, by delivering the boat downwind with dual foils and keeping loads to a minimum, they were at least able to take a little more data from the starboard foil and the modes sailed on port tack on the long upwind.