21 Jun 2016

Team New Zealand launch new boat

8:05 pm on 21 June 2016

Team New Zealand has launched its first custom-designed development boat before next year's America's Cup in Bermuda.

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Team New Zealand's new development boat during its launch in Auckland Photo: Suplied / Team New Zealand

Two years of research have gone into the elements of the boat that the team is free to design. These include control systems and foils, but the major components on the boat - such as the wing and hulls - are standard designs.

The 45ft catamaran will be used as the main test and development platform to refine Team New Zealand's actual race yacht, which is expected to be launched in early 2017.

America's Cup holder Oracle launched its development boat in October last year, giving it an eight-month start on Team New Zealand.

Its design coordinator, Dan Bernasconi, said that was not a concern.

"We're not looking at the other guys and scratching our heads, wondering why they're doing those things or thinking that's something we've never thought of.

"So, yeah, we're late on the water, but we're quietly confident that we've got a great boat here and a great platform moving towards the cup."

The catamaran was built over the past six months at the team's Beaumont St base in Auckland.

"This is certainly the most complicated boat we have ever built," Team New Zealand construction manager Sean Regan said.

"The amount of detail and systems that go into the construction of this boat is astonishing.

"This has been a huge effort by our guys in the shed to create such an amazing piece of machinery, and of course the designers who have been pushing the design throughout the construction process."

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Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton is anxious to get the boat on the water. Photo: RNZ/ Todd Niall

The team's skipper, Glenn Ashby, said it hoped to get the boat into the water in the next week or so.

"This is hugely exciting, our guys have been putting in long hours at the gym preparing for this, so we are chomping at the bit to get her out on the water," he said

"It's a proud moment. The team have been quietly working away down here in Auckland, away from where a lot of the action is focused in Bermuda.

"We expect the arrival of some inquisitive competitors with cameras and long lenses to begin showing up in the next few days, subsequent to this launch."

The boat, Emirates Team New Zealand, was christened by Lady Margaret Tindall, wife of Sir Stephen Tindall, and blessed by Ngati Whatua.

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