Emirates Team NZ
Grinders Josh Junior and Louis Sinclair face a long summer of hard work with Team New Zealand.
Team New Zealand has hinted that they will not compete in two boat tests while their America’s Cup rivals race the challenger series.
The defenders will launch their second boat on Thursday evening with exciting developments expected from their original AC75 Te Aihe.
After the four-day Christmas Cup in late December, Team New Zealand breaks away to train independently for two months, while the three challengers race the Prada Cup to find the team that will take on the Kiwis in the America’s Cup competition starting in March. 6.
Emirates Team NZ
America’s Cup defenders look strong in Auckland’s training block at AC75.
Team New Zealand may do a two-boat training while the Prada Cup is underway, but it will stretch their sailing crew and their boat equipment.
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“The resources needed to do that can sometimes outweigh what you’re going to learn,” said Kevin Shoebridge, Team New Zealand’s Chief Operating Officer. Stuff.
“You can learn a lot in these boats just by testing and sailing and going around the racetrack and refining your techniques.
“All these things are important and you can do that yourself.
“It is not racing and there is no doubt that this is a big change from Bermuda when the defender (Oracle Team USA) was involved in the early rounds.
“That will be a bit of a challenge, but we have enough on our plate to get the boat moving as quickly as possible.”
Oracle twisted the rules to engage itself in the round-robin phase of the challenger series in Bermuda, reasoning that greater exposure was good for their sponsors, but the key ingredient was the ability to get a feel for their speed against their pre-America’s Cup challengers.
After reclaiming the Auld Mug in Bermuda, Team New Zealand immediately reverted to the traditional rule that the defender faces the challenger alone in the match, with so many unknowns.
The cup’s fascination has long begun with opening the streak from the start line to the first mark to see who has the speed advantage in a game that has always been a draft race, but also a sailing competition.
“One of the interesting things this time around … it’s really an unknown and that’s pretty exciting in itself,” said Shoebridge.
“We have no idea what things will look like until February next year [when the winning challenger is found] and since we are not queuing until late, it will be a pretty interesting day on March 6th. “
Team New Zealand coach Ray Davies told Stuff they would get imaginative with their training early next year.
“It’s going to be difficult for the team in a way, because we all love racing, that’s what drives us,” said Davies.
“It was a decision we made to bring the cup back to the way it always was, where the defender was not involved in the challenger series.
“It will certainly add a lot more spice to the America’s Cup when no one really knows each other’s achievements.
“It’s not ideal for us from a racing perspective, but we have some ideas to mitigate that, and we’re going to push ourselves while they go to their event.”
Leading up to their stunning success in Bermuda, Team New Zealand operated like a lone wolf, trained long and hard at home, and arrived at the venue on the 11th hour.
They had no training partner and regularly used their pursuit boats to refine their starting techniques and simulate two-boat racing situations.
Re-commissioning Te Aihe, which is now under covers on their base, would be an expensive exercise, with some parts cannibalized for the new boat.
They have their 12 meter test boat Te Kahu as an option, but on a half scale there will be limitations.