Monday, May 13, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupEmirates Team New Zealand: Sailing Through the Squalls

Emirates Team New Zealand: Sailing Through the Squalls

Another day, another display from Emirates Team New Zealand, who completed their twelfth day on ‘Taihoro’ in rain-squally Auckland with some big pulses coming down the track measured at anywhere between 12-15 knots as the sailors sought Barcelona-like swell forms. They found them and for sure the analysts will be smiling at the performance data today.

What we saw was low-riding efficiency with the Flight Control dialled-in low to the water’s surface, producing the highly prised end-plating effect allowing the hull form to do its work and send the AC75 at shockingly fast speeds both upwind and down. Still very hard to discern any noticeable waves over the bow, Taihoro is something of an anomaly in the upper wind and wave ranges. A new mast was stepped today, which required a slightly longer series of test on the dock to bed-in, but once out on the Gulf it was all about straight-line sailing and getting the settings right on the new ‘quiver’ as Blair Tuke called it.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

A three-hour session curtailed by a ‘small issue’ on the mainsail, thought to be batten related as the team had a technician up the mast to inspect, the sailors could have easily sailed on until dusk, such was the outstanding seamanship on display today. In a blow there’s few that come close to the Kiwis, and they are electrifying to watch with super-high co-ordination between the helms and trimmers with an ease of ride height and a deftness of delivering the right trim for the conditions.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Depth on the M3 mainsail set-up was ditched on a whim as soon as target speeds were reached whilst the jibs used today – the J3-1 and J4-1 – remained pretty much board-flat throughout with high jib halyard loadings. Cant positions were wide again and the mode was resolutely upright to slight leeward heel, effectively pushing down on the immersed foil and letting it do its work.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Blair Tuke seemed more than pleased with how the day went saying: “Easterly gradient, couple of pretty big squalls came through, rolled over the Coromandel over Waiheke, and our plan was to get out wide again like we did end of last week but we got paused just as one of them blew through with quite a lot of wind and then just snuck-out through Motuihe channel past the Noises and out pretty wide so yeah it was a good day, small issue just held us up there at the end, had to tow back but yeah all in all good.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Talking about pushing the boat hard in the waves, Blair added: “There’s absolutely no secret obviously that the wave state in Barcelona is quite different than what we get here in the Hauraki Gulf so when the opportunity presents itself like it did today, and the end of last week obviously that glamour day when we had the big session, today was another one where we had kind of a northerly swell with easterly gradient and conditions get pretty good out there so just try and get out there and replicate it the best we can.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Looking at the commissioning phase overall, Blair commented: “It’s been going great. We’ve certainly pushed it pretty hard, 12 days now, and in a pretty short space of time and a range of conditions so all in all it’s going really well and just onwards and upwards…especially when the conditions present like that, just trying to get dialled in, get our settings right and just get a feel for the boat in those conditions which were great conditions so trying to make the most of it.”

More time is scheduled tomorrow (Tuesday) as the Emirates Team New Zealand programme pushes on hard. Big days for the team at the moment and plenty for Kiwi fans to be happy about. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 12 of sailing ‘Taihoro’ AC75. ETNZ rolled out a new mast for this boat today and set into stepping it and going over the required dock checks before splashing the boat and then heading off the dock at 12:00 p.m.

Heading out into an Easterly breeze, the team hoisted sails near Orakei and went with M3 and J3 to start. Slower than normal hoist process; this seemed to be due to checking over the rig systems. Getting sorted and ready to start the sailing session, the team got a very quick tow onto the foils so they could be sure to clear North Head.

Starting at 12:42, sailing upwind towards Browns Island with the plan to head out off the back of The Noises; the team bore away and cut that plan short to avoid the incoming rain squall. Instead, sailing downwind and completing a few shorter laps within the inner harbour as the squall passed. With the cloud pushing past the sailing area, the team started upwind again, now sailing out past Motuihe Island. Now off the eastern side of Motutapu, the team sailed a few short laps here before heading into the lee of The Noises and stopped sailing at 13:27.

During this stoppage, the team completed some standard checks and made a jib change, dropping down to the J4. Starting sailing again at 13:48, the team took off downwind, completing minimal manoeuvrers and working on long sections in the now building sea state out in the gulf. Approximately 15 minutes later, the team came to a stop after sailing downwind.

This stop was controlled, and the team quickly brought the shore crew onboard, dropping the jib and looking to get the main down. As Recon caught up and got closer, we could see a person up the rig inspecting the main track, and under closer view looked to be some batten issues with the mainsail. The team spent some time working on getting the double-skinned mainsail down and then towed into the dock from just east of Tiri. Ending the session early and returning to the dock.

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