16 Feb 2017

Team New Zealand's different tack: pedal power

10:13 pm on 16 February 2017

Team New Zealand could pedal their way to victory in the America's Cup, with the team hoping it is too late for rivals to copy their cycling-powered hydraulics.

Team New Zealand's new boat 2017.

Team New Zealand' new 15-metre AC class catamaran is launched in Auckland. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 15-metre AC class catamaran the team will race in the Louis Vuitton qualifiers was unveiled and christened in Auckland today.

While the boat is six metres shorter than its 2013 entry, technical advances mean it will be 20 percent faster, the team said.

The most obvious innovation - though less significant than other design features - is the use of pedals to power the boat's hydraulics, rather than traditional hand-operated grinders.

Skipper Glen Ashby described the use of pedals as a punt.

While the idea had been considered and rejected in the past, the team hopes its time had come, he said.

"With the technology, the materials that you can use these days, and a lot of clever guys all working on that one project for quite a while, I think anything's possible these days.

"Hopefully we've made the right decision - we'll find out in a few months' time."

The team had been working on the concept for about 18 months, he said.

"We were surprised it didn't get leaked along the way somehow."

The team would do a month of intensive testing in Auckland before shipping the boat to Bermuda, where racing starts at the end of May.

Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton said it was a proud day for the team.

"The campaign always just gets real when you launch the actual boat that you hope will be the one to win the America's Cup back for New Zealand.

It's when things get exciting, and despite the long hard hours everyone has been putting in there is definitely an added edge to the team now this is in the water."