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Sail-World NZ - March 11: 12 months to the Match...JJ's three-peat?...Classics regatta

by Richard Gladwell, 11 Mar 16:59 NZDT 11 March 2020
Te Kaahu dips off her foils - `It's exciting, noisy, very wet - a lot more than we anticipated` - Guy Endean ETNZ sailing crew © Richard Gladwell /

Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for March 10, 2020

Friday, March 6 marked the 12-month mark to the start of the America's Cup Match in Auckland.

The occasion was marked in a low-key function at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, complete with a sail-past from the team's impressive test boat - Te Kaahu.

The message from Emirates Team New Zealand COO, Kevin Shoebridge was that they were "exactly where they wanted to be" in terms of preparation for their defence in 12 months.

He added that the team was not underplaying the enormity of the task ahead of them - as the first Club in America's Cup history to conduct a second defence of the 19th-century silver ewer.

Sailor and boat-builder Guy Endean told the audience that they didn't expect the AC75 not to foil when they had their first sail, but it came as a relief when it did. "It's exciting, noisy, very wet - a lot more than we anticipated. But it is all going well."

"They are an incredible piece of engineering," Shoebridge remarked. "It is hard to explain how complicated they are unless you have a look down below - you'd be amazed."

"They are so impressive to see in the flesh. We take it all a bit for granted, but when you stand back and take a look from 200 metres away, they are quite incredible".

"One of the ideas has always been to make the event visible and use natural landmarks to hold the fans. We are now on sailing a lot on Course C which is right under North Head. Hopefully, that will be one of the main courses with thousands of people on shore watching these boats at pace. "

"The first day we came onto that course was the day we capsized," he quipped. "It was just before Christmas, and we decided to give the course a go. But we are getting the hang of it. The boats are a handful."

"The boats are very manoeuvrable and slowly we, and are opposition are getting to grips with how to sail the AC75's. By the time the Challenger trials start next year, we will be just like we were in Bermuda - flicking the boats around the course, with no problems."

Talking about grinders on the AC75 versus cyclors on the AC50's, Guy Endean explained that it was quite different this time around. "This time we have a much smaller accumulator (essentially a hydraulic pressure bank used to power various functions on board to trim the sails). This time we have a much smaller version. So everything we do on the boat is directed towards a function. As a sailor, you have to be much more in tune with what function needs to happen and at what time."

"The World Series events will be the first time we will see the four teams converge with a very different approach to how they have done their first boat. It's a bit of an open book. We don't have a firm idea of the performance of the other teams. We have got a lot of respect for the other teams, and we know they have got some very nice feature on all the boats.

"What we see in the World Series this year is not what we will see in a year. Everyone has moved on a considerable amount since then. It's nice to test the water, but it's not the full picture. It is going to be a great environment to see all the boats on the racecourse together - we're all going to learn a lot.

"Speed-wise it is the hard yards that we do out here daily that will make all the difference to the performance of the boat."

"The boats are so quick", was Shoebridges response to a question as to the standout feature of the AC75. "They are manoeuvrable for their size, but it is the sheer speed and efficiency of them," he added.

The first visible signs of base construction around the America's Cup Village have appeared with the steel framework for the INEOS Team UK base piercing the Auckland skyline.

The British America's Cup team appear to be the most advanced with their base construction.

The other two bases for Italy's Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and USA's NYYC American Magic are still flat decks, however preliminary construction work by the teams has begun. All bases were handed over to the teams last Friday - a year out from the start of the Match for the 36th America's Cup.

With the uncertainty surrounding sporting events in Europe, caused by the coronavirus, the bases may be required sooner than planned.

Another New Zealand sailing team with a point to prove, or reprove is Team Honda Marine, who will be trying for a three-peat in the JJ Giltinan Trophy, which gets underway in Sydney this weekend.

Two years ago, Dave McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Matt Collins became the first New Zealanders in 44 years to win the JJ's - which is the informal World Championship of the 18ft class. Josh Porebski, skippered a rookie crew to second place overall, and at one stage of the event looked like they might win the coveted title on their first attempt.

Three New Zealand boats will compete in the event, with the very experienced C-Tech crew of Alex Callings, Sam Trethewey and Matt Coutts, and a young Maersk Line with Peron Pearse, Eli Liefting and Harry Clark joining Team Honda Marine.

Twenty-four boats are entered in the series, which runs from March 14 to 22.

We'll have full daily coverage on Sail-World. Fans can follow the sailing live on Youtube, along with some outstanding commentary from the team onboard the Camera Cat.

For all the latest news from NZ and around the world see the Top 50 stories below.

Between newsletters, you can follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on or by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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