Team New Zealand’s new America’s Cup boot has received high praise for its radical design shift and early performance.
The defenders had Te Rehutai in the water 18 hours after launch in Auckland and frowned as the fleet of four boats for the 36th edition of the Cup is now complete.
In Italy, where record challenger Luna Rossa hails from, there was surprise at the Kiwi’s major design moves and it was recognized that the crew had made a seamless return to action after five weeks out of the water.
Do it described Team New Zealand’s debut sail as “a demonstration of power and control” with the Kiwis “instantly at ease on the first foray”, citing “agility in maneuvers” and “the boat’s ability to accelerate” .
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Italian yacht website Saily felt Team New Zealand had gone through a “radical evolution”, describing Te Rehutai as a “visionary design” that pushed the “mysterious America’s Cup class” to the limit.
They had expected a more subtle development of the first boat Te Aihe, but Emirates Team New Zealand had instead delivered “a bomb of extremes”.
In a country where style is just as important as substance, Do it went so far as to make an early prediction for the America’s Cup game in March.
“It must be said that, at least from an aesthetic point of view, the 36th America’s Cup final seems to have already been written … Luna Rossa vs Te Rehutai … the most beautiful AC75s to watch.”
International yacht website Sail-World felt Team New Zealand’s first sail was “impressive” and that they “shed the gauntlet” to the challengers.
“The radical hull design turned out to be quick out of the box, which allayed many Kiwi Cup fans’ fears that the defending champion had gone a step too far this time,” and they were particularly impressed with the efforts in light air, with Cup racing set for winds from just 6.5 knots.
“Looks like the New Zealand design team has made a breakthrough in the performance of the double hull mainsail. The above engine generates considerable power, ”suspected Sail-World.
“Burling and his crew don’t miss a beat all day and it looks like they could be racing in the Christmas Cup if it were sailed tomorrow.
“Their performance is a marked difference from the other teams’ first sail, interrupted by frequent interruptions while making adjustments. ETNZ’s pauses seem to be more to give the grinders a rest / switchover than to make pending repairs. “
UK website Sailweb was also surprised by the defenders’ aggressive design push and wondered what it really meant.
They felt that the radical design shift by the Kiwis was a recognition of their rivals.
“Despite trying to convince everyone that they had a fast boat on their first try, mainly based on their perceived advantage of drafting the new AC75 rule, it now appears that they are at a fairly early stage (three months) decided that the opposition didn’t look so bad after all.
“But it was still quite surprising to see how radically ETNZ changed their fundamental design thinking … when their first attempt went so fast!”