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Emirates Team New Zealand wrapped up their Auckland training week with a sharply focused sessions on the Hauraki Gulf

After a couple of days shoreside, Emirates Team New Zealand concluded their week in Auckland with a short but highly focussed session of a little over two hours in near-perfect, almost Barcelona-esque conditions out on the Hauraki Gulf.

Sitting in the pen dockside, once again we saw the pre-set connection between the mast rotation and foil cant system as the engineering team rifled through their check and test lists in their usual highly efficient manner before handing over to the sailors and towing out to the smooth waters of Mechanics Bay to launch sails just beyond the container port.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Clearly a session designed exclusively for foil data gathering, once out past the Rangitoto Lighthouse Pete burling and Nathan Outteridge had the LEQ12 moded AC40 up at pace with maximum pressure on the foils through a series of hard bear-aways and round-ups. Straight-line sailing was also the order of the day with a whole variety of ride heights being delivered by Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney. The session was punctuated by the customary climbs out onto the foil arms to inspect the tips of the outer wings and there’s clearly some detail there, unseen by the recon teams, that is very much the focus of their development. Interesting to watch the proximity of the Chase Boat throughout the session with a good number of technicians and performance analysts onboard looking intently at the foil profile both upwind and downwind.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Just nine manoeuvres, six tacks and three gybes, were observed through the session and time was called early with the sailors optimising efficiency over time on the water and the boat was back at the dock just before 1pm. Peter Burling summed it up saying: “It was an awesome day out there, the breeze built nicely so it’s good to get a good range of conditions and we were trying to be nice and efficient with the time you know get through the list and get back to the base.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Keeping his cards very close to his chest, Pete talked about the foil development programme saying: “We’re just trying to look at some specifics on the foils obviously yeah I can’t say too much more about that, but it was really nice conditions out there, nice kind of a building breeze, pretty shifting dynamics yeah and a few waves kind of floating around so it’s a little more Barcelona-like what we’ve had in that kind of nor-wester before so yeah pretty cool, pretty cool fun day.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Looking forward, Pete added: “I think everyone’s really excited now, under six months to go so yeah pretty cool milestone and I think the next few months are going to be really exciting. Obviously Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s boat arrived at their base a couple of days ago which is the first boat we’ve seen out of out of a building facility so yeah it’s really cool to see that, just finally getting to see what people have actually been up to in the last couple of years so it’s a pretty cool part of the campaign and then very quickly you’re into then racing them so we’re just looking forward to ramping up into that.”

Productive session for Emirates Team New Zealand and with the focus very much on signing off on the foil theories, it was a valuable data gathering day. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 68 on the Hauraki Gulf in LEQ12 for ETNZ. Splashing the boat around 9:45 the team ran through some standard dock checks and checked over foil arm movement. Still sailing with the new attachment on the port foil arm.

Docking out at 10:30 the team towed to Mechanics Bay hoisting the M2 Main and J3 Jib in a quickly building north westly. Popping onto the foils they gybed and started sailing out the harbour, towards Rangitoto lighthouse.

After a quick run down the harbour the team stopped just past Rangitoto Lighthouse and had a look downstairs on the yacht. Only stopping for a few minutes, they showed no ongoing signs of concern and continued sailing downwind.

On the first run out the harbour the team spent almost the whole time on port gybe completing a number of quick round up and bear aways. Recon observe the team spending some time in a high mode downwind. The wind had now built to around 14-17 knots with a wind chop starting to develop.

Stopping off Long Bay the team had a quick check over the foils and then started sailing upwind on Starboard. A long starboard tack took them back up towards Rangitoto Light during which the team was seen to be trying some faster lower modes of upwind sailing. Bearing away still on starboard the team sailed downwind for a short time before coming to an abrupt controlled stop after a double board round up. They spent roughly 10 minutes looking over both foils putting some members of the team from the chase boat onboard to also have a look.

Continuing sailing the team completed another lap of port gybe, round up and bear aways, eventually ending in a fast downwind leg. With a well-executed gybe into early round up the team set off sailing upwind again completing another long starboard and heading into the harbour to finish up the session.

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