America's Cup: controlled Kiwis pushing the limits

America's Cup: controlled Kiwis pushing the limits

America's Cup: controlled Kiwis pushing the limits

Sport

20/02/2024 - 15:50

Very much a sailor-led day today out on the famous ‘Back Paddock’ on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, Emirates Team New Zealand put the technique hammer down, pushing the asymmetric foil set-up as hard as they dared but staying majestically in control over a compact three-hour productive session.

Interesting to watch the Kiwis through the manoeuvres. Round-ups were smooth but tight, usually conducted on just one board whilst the bear-away technique is still trying to find maximum leverage for a high exit speed with Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney playing with the ride height on the ragged tip of control. Wonderful to sailing to watch on a billiard-flat Gulf through a whole variety of breezes, eventually settling on some big pulses towards the end of the session. In those conditions the Kiwis just excel with Nathan Outteridge and Peter Burling just so smooth, dialling lovely windward heel (more than we’ve seen of late) and achieving speed through the tacks and high angles on the exit.

With final design decisions required and ‘sailor feel’ being at a premium, this was another crucial day of technique training and foil analysis for the team who will re-commence the programme next week now after a short break. Speaking to the recon team after sailing, Nathan Outteridge gave his usual confident appraisal of the day saying: “It was good we had a south-west’er today which is quite different to what we've had for the last couple of weeks so bit puffier, a bit more flat water and we went out to the Back Paddock to try and find the best breeze down there and yeah a few straight-line sailing just sort of looking at how we sailed the boat, control the boat, you know we’re in the final stages of confirming a lot of design for the foils so was a lot of time spent just looking at those and hopefully collected a nice bit of data today.”

Asked about the job list from the Design Office today, Nathan added: “It wasn't a massive job list to be honest from the water mostly led by the sailors today just trying to get the final thoughts and comments on the foils and yeah we achieved everything we wanted to do and the weather was quite interesting too we had good breeze initially and then it went real soft as the rain was approaching and then we got a good pulse to the end so you know some days you really want stable conditions so that you can do repeatable tests and we've got a lot of that last week and today with good variability that meant that we were able to test you know the foils and the sails through different wind ranges, so it worked out really well.”

As the team pushed on harder towards the end of the session with some notable ride height exercises, the recon team asked about control. Nathan smiled at the response saying: “All under control, that's part of like the testing that we want to do is how fast can you spin the boat on one foil and what's the correct heel and cant angles, and stuff like that and you know it's so fascinating it's been four or five years of sailing boats like this for the team and we're still trying to find little areas to do things better so yeah always under control and nothing too scary today.”

Good session from Emirates Team New Zealand with plenty of take-aways and no doubt a solid de-brief afterwards. They’re looking good in their Defence of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup – ‘nothing too scary.’ 

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