After a long-weekend in the shed, Emirates Team New Zealand resumed training on Monday in Auckland in a building afternoon ‘champagne’ breeze of 14-16 knots on their LEQ12 moded AC40 running the asymmetric foil set-up and still encountering difficulties with the outboard foil wing on port.
For much of the session on twinkling Hauraki Gulf summer’s afternoon, everything looked peachy. Josh Junior was standing-in for Nathan Outteridge again in the port pod whilst Peter Burling was pushing ever harder on the port foil through some rapid manoeuvres and high pressure presses upwind. Noticeably the Kiwis seem to be really pushing this concept wing arrangement with its slender flap arrangement and what looks like a non-uniform finish but towards the end of the afternoon just after 2pm (having docked-out at midday), Peter was out of his pod and crawling out on the foil arm. Blair Tuke followed and the sailors looked to be taking pictures of the outer section, perhaps even the wing tip and then reporting back. The Chase Boat came in and some animated conversations could be seen onboard as whatever the issue is, needs to be diagnosed and fixed.
The foil wasn’t enough to curtail sailing and the team still rocketed back up the harbour looking for all the world well in control and happy in flight but one suspects that whatever Peter Burling can feel from the helming position on the starboard side is a cause for concern. The recon team noted in their report that there was an: “Issue on the outboard span of port foil around the tip connection” and recon photos after sailing showed a slight bobbling on that wing tip when zoomed right in as far as a Microsoft programme will allow. The boat was quickly brought back into the shed and for sure the technicians will be working through overnight to solve the problem.
Other than the issue, it was another solid performance from the sailing team who looked super in control and showed some smart trim through the gybes, holding the main high on the new side to keep power on whilst tacks were the usual rapier fast entry and smooth exit.
Josh Junior, thrust back into the Emirates Team New Zealand hot-seat for the past two sailing sessions summed it up from his perspective saying: “From being on the Chase Boat, it’s easier to talk about it than actually do it! So it’s been great to experience being on the boat but it’s also really different perspective so to be on the boat you see things from a different angle you get a lot better feel of how the boat sails so for me it’s been really interesting and it’s been great to do a bit of yachting.”
Talking about the launch of the new Emirates Team New Zealand AC75 and the Challenger AC75s around the world, Josh was excited as any saying: “Yeah, it’s definitely getting to that time of year when people should be starting think about launching so, I find it pretty exciting because the hulls are a place where you visually see quite a difference, so you know to see what teams come out with, how they design their cockpits, how the boats look, is a really interesting time and to see where people have found speed or not – I guess we won’t know until the end…you can tell what people are doing in their campaigns now, but they could come out with something incredible or not from here, so fingers crossed we’ve gone in the right direction and we’re excited to get our boat out at some stage soon.”
All eyes will be on Auckland when the team do splash. (Magnus Wheatley)
On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 63 for Emirates Team New Zealand in the LEQ12 out on the Gulf in Auckland, proved to be champagne after what was a wind-less morning. A southwest breeze blew across the gulf, averaging 12 knots to start the session, and sails being hoisted off North Head. The team went with the M2 main and J2 jib, the obvious choice for this wind range. As with the last session, Nathan Outteridge was absent from the sailing and Josh Junior stepped in to take his place.
The day started off with a long downwind towards Tiritiri Matangi, which included many gybes and a few longer runs with some different flying height modes. The team seemed to be flying slightly higher in general on starboard gybe, but this could have been due to the sea state rather than mode. Although sea state was minimal, it was still wind against tide so at times the sea state would have impacted modes. Once they were within approximately 7km of Tiri, the team dropped the windward foil and successfully executed an aggressive round up before coming to a stop. With the breeze now averaging around 15-16 knots, the team opted to downsize jibs to the J3.
From here the team sailed a long up-wind all the way back to North Head, and again, the many manoeuvres being made, all seemed very planned at similar intervals. The gybes seemed very smooth and with a similar turn rate to normal, however some of the tacking today looked quick compared to what we have seen on other days. The boat heel stayed very flat into, through, and out of the tacks where other days we have seen them come out with more windward heel. Ride height also was being pushed at times, and the yacht looked light and fast but skittish at times, with just the wingtips piercing the water.
Once up at North Head, the team went straight into a bear-away and performed a few more gybes before coming to a stop off Rangitoto Lighthouse. They took a few minutes here and seemed to chat, possibly about the manoeuvres and session so far. Again today, the team inspected the port outboard foil tip and there seemed some concern. This will mark the third sailing day with concern around this area.
After this inspection, the team took off and sailed another upwind leg, this time all the way back to Mechanics Bay, inside the harbour. There were not as many manoeuvres completed this time. Instead, the guys onboard locked into a long starboard tack before completing a couple of tacks and bear-aways as they made their way up the harbour. Grant Dalton was also out today checking up on the progress and once back at the dock everyone seemed in good spirits, which is what you’d expect to see after a positive day out on the harbour testing the LEQ12.