America's Cup: Finessing Taihoro in Auckland

America's Cup: Finessing Taihoro in Auckland

America's Cup: Finessing Taihoro in Auckland


19/04/2024 - 11:15

Ahead of the official and tradition-laden naming ceremony of ‘Taihoro’ in the early evening, Emirates Team New Zealand took the opportunity to get a morning and lunchtime sail in on the Hauraki Gulf with a building breeze and flat water giving the sailors everything they could want for this vital commissioning stage.

Starting in light breeze and billiard-flat water, the recon team captured some wonderful sail trim as Peter Burling and Nathan Outteridge helmed on the edge of displacement as Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney trimmed for their lives. Over-sheeting the mainsail traveller whilst easing the jib ever-so-slightly to keep the power on, certainly indicated that this was sailor feel co-ordinated beautifully with their helms rather than any pre-set. As ride height was lost, the helms would dial upwind eking the boatspeed to keep flying and with the legacy foils on, this is an area that will improve markedly with the introduction of the next gen, long-span iterations.

A peer into the forward jib trench on the recon video revealed the logical 3d jib trim arrangement whilst looking from astern the double-skinned mainsail with its new mainsheet trim arrangement shows a very closed gap between the skins having removed so much hardware from the above-deck, in-skin area.

As the breeze increased to 12-15 knots, and with the sky bruising over with cloud-cover, Taihoro came alive with the speeds increasing dramatically with a beautiful end-plated low-flight under total control from the sailing team. Have we seen a bow stuff or even a modicum of spray coming over the bow yet? Not a chance, this boat looks balanced on its aft third bustle and although the foil arms are still kicking up big spray, again this is an area where we will see major improvements as the race foils and arms come onstream – probably in Barcelona.

Impressive performance again from the Kiwis who threw in a large number of tacks on the way back to the harbour, buzzing the assembled 29er Youth Fleet and inspiring the next generation of New Zealand talent learning their craft. Dock-in was just after 1pm ahead of some inclement weather that certainly didn’t dampen spirits as former prime Minister and Emirates Team New Zealand Patron, Helen Clark, broke the champagne bottle and christened the boat that Kiwi fans hope will be the winning boat at the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup. The name Taihoro’ was gifted and blessed by the Iwi manaaki Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei who put on a stirring traditional ceremony in a downpour – tough guys, rain did not stop play.

Speaking after sailing, Ryan Thomas, the team’s Mechatronics Engineer, gave an insight into how the team are feeling about the commissioning saying: “It's going really well, still little things going on but overall they're able to sail the boat how they want to, it's been a good, quite fast, commissioning process so we are really happy with it...a lot of difference from previous boats so it's been just been interesting but yeah it's gone very well, probably one of the best commissioning’s I've been a part of.”

Asked about any observations made of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli boats since launch, Ryan added: “Most of the stuff I'm interested in is usually inside the boat so it's actually quite hard to see how their control systems are working, their hydraulic systems, but no one’s really sailed yet so it's still hard to see how the above deck systems are working or supposed to work. So no not too many comments lately but I'm sure there's plenty of different ways to do similar things so that's going to be really interesting to see what they've done, but yeah I'd love to have a look under the under the hoods for sure.”

The Auckland training block for Emirates Team New Zealand is relatively short before they transport the boat up to Barcelona. More to come this week for sure.


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