Does all the drama and excitement of the Emirates Team New Zealand victory in the America's Cup in Bermuda seem like just yesterday (maybe it's just us)? Well here's a reality check for anyone who doesn't closely following competitive sailing - those races were back in 2017 so it's now over 2 years on and Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and various international challengers are now almost at the half-way mark of preparing for the next cup - the 36th America's Cup to be held in Auckland in March 2021!
But in competitive sailing, we all know that things are anything but static. The new AC75 class rules were revealed in 2018 (click here for a great explanation of the regulations that will be followed by all competing teams). We've seen that the entire ETNZ team has been working furiously to develop and optimise this new foiling monohull design, and now we are starting to see the fruits of their labour and ingenuity - in fact they have begun hitting major milestones recently, with their official boat launch of "Te Aihe" (Dolphin) and a significant "First Foil" achieved during their first day of sailing on the Hauraki Gulf.
LEAP staff recently had the pleasure of attending their official launch of "Boat 1" at their new headquarters on the Auckland harbourfront. We encourage you to watch this video highlights package from the Launch of "Te Aihe" which includes some insightful comments from the sailors and their CEO about the development of this new boat, along with early footage of their first foil:
Speaking on launch night, ETNZ COO Kevin Shoebridge noted that “This is a significant occasion for the team, not just because it is another new boat, but really because when we won the America’s Cup in 2017 we very quickly had to come up with a new concept of boat that would really continue to push the boundaries of innovation and technology in the America’s Cup. So in the relatively short timeframe since November in 2017 when we published the concept, to seeing it in the flesh today is an amazing testament to the entire team willing to push things all the way from concept to design to build and fit out”.
In recent media releases, ETNZ has confirmed that it has taken over 100,000 man-hours to design and build the boat with a group of about 65 people between designers and boat builders throughout the past year. Emirates Team New Zealand Head of Design Dan Bernasconi was a central figure in the development of the AC75 Class Rule before turning his team of designers’ attention to the specific design of the Emirates Team New Zealand boat.
“There’s a huge amount of innovation in the design and build of the AC75 – more than we saw in the AC50’s in Bermuda” said Bernasconi. “The AC75 is a completely new concept and has presented plenty of challenges across many areas – but this is precisely what the Rule was designed to do – to push development to the extreme. We haven’t been conservative in any aspect of our design; it’s not long until we need to commit to the design of our second boat, which we will ultimately race in the 2021 America’s Cup, so we need to test as many of our ideas as possible in the yacht we’re launching today.”
According to Emirates Team New Zealand, unlike other challengers they have focused the development of their first boat entirely with their in-house simulator (as opposed to building a smaller scale test boat to validate concepts on the water). So when the AC75 went for its maiden sail, it was the first time the team has collectively sailed since winning the America’s Cup on June 26th 2017.
“It won’t be without nerves the first time we go sailing, but I am sure that is no different for all of the teams.” said Glenn Ashby. “The AC75’s are big powerful and fast boats so they will be a handful, but from our understanding through our simulations they are inherently a safer boat to sail than what we have sailed in the past two America’s Cups. As with any new boat it is all about slowly getting it up to speed, learning how to sail it most efficiently, pushing the development of the designs and then putting in the hours in getting ready to race for the ACWS Sardinia in April 2020.”
Emirates Team New Zealand will now focus on a busy period of testing on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf over the spring and summer months having the advantage of developing and training on the race area of the America’s Cup Match which will be raced in March 2021.
Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton concludes: “I wish to thank every single team member for the hard work they’ve done to get us to this day. A special thanks also to all our sponsors and partners for all of their valued support so far and everything they will continue to do during our journey towards the America’s Cup Match in 2021. It is an exciting time, but things are about to get a whole lot more so from now.”
If you'd like to know more about the role that CFD has played in the success of Emirates Team New Zealand over the past 25 years, then here are some other recent interviews that have been published on Emirates Team New Zealand's journey towards winning the "Auld Mug" in 2017:
To follow the journey of ETNZ in the lead-up to March 2021, we encourage you to:
SUBSCRIBE to the official ETNZ channel: www.youtube.com/EmiratesTeamNZ
Like ETNZ On Facebook: www.facebook.com/EmiratesTeamNewZealand
Follow ETNZ On Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmiratesTeamNZ
Follow ETNZ On Instagram: www.instagram.com/emiratesteamnz
Stay up to date with the ETNZ newsletter: https://emirates-team-new-zealand.ame...
Buy ETNZ official team gear: www.emiratesteamnzshop.com
About the team:
Emirates Team New Zealand is a sailing team based in Auckland, New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. They are four-time winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup and three-time winners of the America’s Cup. Emirates Team New Zealand will be defending the Cup in 2021 against the winner the Prada Cup, the challenger selection series which takes place in January–February in 2021 ahead of the 36th America's Cup presented by Prada.