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America's Cup: Te Aihe fly past - Away in a shower of spray

by Richard Gladwell 20 Nov 20:37 NZDT 20 November 2019
Emirates Team New Zealand - Waitemata Harbour - November 20, 2019 © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

Emirates Team NZ's AC75, Te Aihe was back on the Waitemata Harbour for the second day in a row, after spending almost two weeks in the shed.

After striking light winds yesterday, today was a different story with winds being reported as averaging 20kts at Bean Rock, at the harbour entrance, gusting 23kts.

Te Aihe came flying past Sail-World's camera position on North Head, before running into the usual lull, and coming close to being run over by the pursuing spy boats.

As she picked up a squirt of the new breeze, Te Aihe bore off in a shower of spray for a short (by ETNZ standards) three hour training session on "The Paddock", or Course E on the America's Cup course list.

"The Paddock" is the almost land-locked body of water used by ETNZ for training in the build up to Bermuda in the 2017 Cup. It is largely flat water, subject to some localised tidal influence, and with a predictable land influence.

Passing to within about 60 metres of Sail-World's camera the fly-by gave a good opportunity for a close up look at the AC75, particularly how her bustled hull shape worked both in touchdowns and lift off.

While it is hard to tell specifics without looking at speed data from off the boat (no we weren't close enough to read the instruments), however the bustle's interaction with the water seemed to be very soft, without any discernible effect on speed.

Even though the crew were clearly not in race mode ahead of the practice session, the way the AC75 transitioned in and out of foiling mode was impressive - without the stern down takeoff and landing that is seen in lighter winds or on the tow rope.

The crew stay crouched in their trenches - either side of the centreline - and no shifting to windward to increase righting moment.

Apologies for the light in these images, it was raining lightly at the time - or were we getting a dusting of the fine high speed spray?

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