15 Feb 2017

Pedal power or America's Cup mind games?

8:54 am on 15 February 2017

Have Emirates Team New Zealand opted for a radical grinding change or are they simply playing mind games ahead of the official launch of their America's Cup boat tomorrow?

Sailing website sail.world.com has reported Team New Zealand tested their America's Cup boat in Auckland yesterday seemingly showing cycle pedestals for their grinders, using leg power to hoist sails rather than the traditional arm driven pedestals.

Team New Zealand and pedal power or America's Cup mind games?

Team New Zealand and pedal power or America's Cup mind games? Photo: Photosport

Oddly though judging by the photograph there doesn't seem to be any handlebars for the 'cyclists' to brace against, which would seemingly reduce their power output and raises questions over whether the innovation is genuine.

The new 50-foot catamaran carries New Zealand's hopes of regaining the America's Cup when the regatta is held in Bermuda in May and June.

The use of cycle pedestals where the crews pedal to provide the power are not new.

They were tried by the 1977 by the Swedish Challenger, Sverige.

Then the crews were mostly below deck to reduce wind resistance.

The Sail.World.com report said on its first sail Emirates Team NZ's AC50 looked "very impressive - sailing in winds right on, or below the minimum wind limit of 6 knots with the wind at times being only 4knots - and not suitable to race conventional boats.

The boat did one run up the harbour, seen by Sail-World, which after a few seconds to build speed, lifting onto foils effortlessly and stayed foil bourne for a kilometre or so, without touching the water.

On the return run downwind, the boat again climbed slowly onto her foils over a period of 2-3 seconds and then stayed foiling without touch down.