Monday, May 13, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupEmirates Team New Zealand's 'Taihoro' Shines in Challenging Conditions on the Hauraki...

Emirates Team New Zealand’s ‘Taihoro’ Shines in Challenging Conditions on the Hauraki Gulf

A kicked-up south-westerly chop over a left-over northerly swell made for a tough and dynamic day on the Hauraki Gulf, where the sailors on ‘Taihoro’ – Emirates Team New Zealand’s stunning new AC75 – easily had the smoothest ride on the foils as everyone else tried to keep up. With the wind building to a top-end near 18 knots, it was another day, day ten (!) on the programme, of top-class training that is starting to ramp up into virtual race training.

On an almost deserted waterway with long white clouds and the dusty, scenic hill-top vistas of beautiful Auckland, Emirates Team New Zealand put on another high-intensity session pushing Taihoro hard and playing with some interesting moding. The team are unafraid of leeward heel with full windward cant of the foil arm, leaning-in on the immersed foil in a very powerful mode that looks to extract the max form the set-up. The aft two thirds of the bustle are really working hard, dialled in close to the surface, skimming mainly, whilst the bow profile stays just clear by a half metre and with ultra-stability, even in chop, the deck stays largely clear of waves over the bow.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Sail trim is just about everything at the moment as the team dial in pre-sets to mast rotation and skin settings both windward and leeward on the mainsail, gaining the valuable on-the-water data that is like liquid gold in the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup. Interesting to note just how little movement there is on the mainsail traveller but when it happens, it’s very quick and precise to keep the selected mode and de-power and power-on at will.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

The programme feels like it’s moving well beyond commissioning phase now and we’re starting to see time-on-distance runs to the line, multi-move combination manoeuvres to ape a pre-start and rapid-fire tacks and gybes as if escaping an imaginary opponent. Not quite the full programme we saw at the tail end of the Te Rehutai programme, but definitely the team are winding up to that in due course.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Power delivery appears on point although hard to appreciate the hell that the cyclor team are going through, such is the tuck position to achieve full aero. All round, the Kiwis just look solid and are only going to get better and more comfortable from here. Nathan Outteridge and Peter Burling look to be dialled into each other whilst the trim team of Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney barely put a move wrong. A tight unit at the very top of their game – it’s impressive to watch day after day.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Today they were on the water for a little over four hours and were using the slightly smaller M2 mainsail and paired it predominantly with the J4-1 and J5 for the session although the J3 did get an airing earlier on in the lighter afternoon breeze build.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Scott Barnes, one of Emirates Team New Zealand’s Hydraulics Engineers spoke to the recon team after sailing and described how tough the day was for the boat as he was seen jumping onboard at every stop, saying: “It’s harder on the gear as the guys will find it harder to sail than flat water but yeah it was perfect sort of Barcelona weather today, or as close as we can get to it in New Zealand, so it was it was good for the guys to get out in that today….No hydro problems but you know we just try and get on to do checks and stuff so yeah it’s all been operating real well so far, we’ve had plenty hours on the water which has been great…(the commissioning side) has been great and you know we’re ripping into racing and stuff now so it’s been going pretty well.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Asked what improvements there are to come on the hydraulics side of things, Scott left it open saying: “We’re always looking to try and improve things and I’d say we don’t have anything specifically that we want to improve on but you know every day we’re looking for the next opportunity to improve something so I don’t know when or what it will be but there’s always things that we can think about to improve the systems.”

That commitment to continual development is what’s making the Kiwis look so proficient at the moment. The boat looks fast in all conditions and with the introduction of some second-gen foils, will get even tastier and faster. Difficult to bet against right now, Emirates Team New Zealand are bang on the money. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 10 of sailing Taihoro AC75 with Emirates Team New Zealand. Hitting the water into a building sou’wester, the team towed out of the harbour, coming off the tow under the lee of North Head. Starting off hoisting the M2 and J3 sails. Recon observed that the M2 main had a new leech tap suggesting changes made.

Starting off the sailing session at 13:20, the team went into sailing a few short laps in the flat water off Takapuna. This included a few quick combination manoeuvrers, some fast mode sailing, and a range of double board and single board roundups and bear-aways. Coming to a stop after a 20-minute sailing block, the team dropped the J3 and changed down to the J4 as the breeze continued to build.

Starting sailing again, the team proceeded to sail a long downwind leg heading out into the Gulf. As the team headed further offshore, the sea state got more confused and increased in size, with a northerly ground swell under a sou’westerly chop. Recon and the other chase boats from the team started to struggle to keep up in the building sea state. Sailing a long way downwind with minimal manoeuvrers and rounding up to come back upwind with the same minimal manoeuvrers. Stopping after another roughly 20-minute sailing block.

Dropping the J4 and changing down to the J5 as the breeze and sea state had built into top-end sailing conditions. New grinders stepped onboard, and the team got back to sailing, this time around some virtual marks. Recon couldn’t manoeuvre safely to follow in the current sea state, observing from the middle of the virtual course. The team sailed two laps of the course and then came to a controlled stop.

After a short break, the team started sailing again and completed a practice start, then sailed upwind back towards the harbour, with a few short downwind legs eventually making their way back upwind all the way into the harbour. Finishing the sailing session under the lee of North Head, dropping sails, and heading into the dock

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