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Sailing
Monday, March 20, 2017
Team New Zealand Preparing for Bermuda

IslandStats.com
Time is the enemy of Team New Zealand as much as the prying eyes of five America's Cup rivals as they countdown to what they expect to be "brutal" racing in Bermuda.

The Kiwi syndicate are adamant they have learned from the painful lessons of the 2013 regatta in San Francisco where they pioneered foiling but ran out of development and were slowly but surely overhauled by Oracle Team USA in the most dramatic final in the long history of the cup.

A month after launching their radical pedal-powered 50-foot catamaran, ideas and systems are being constantly tweaked by Team New Zealand in testing and training on Aucklands Waitemata Harbour.

That will continue until the end of the month when the boat will be dismantled and packed into an Emirates 747 and flown north. The development process will continue there in the leadup to the opening race in the challenger series on May 27 and won't stop till Team New Zealand's last race hopefully a cup-clinching finale.

"You'll never have enough time, no matter what happens you'll never have enough time because the more you sail the more you learn, the more you want to change. You just have to try to fit as much as you can into the small space of time," Team New Zealand's chief operations officer Kevin Shoebridge says.

"I was thinking about that the other day. This time four years ago we had been in San Francisco a month whereas we are still battling away here with a whole range of different projects that are still on the go and some of those will never be completed. There is no shortage of development and ideas. But all the teams will be like that, they all realise that unless you develop up till the last day, you are going to get caught."

Sea trials have convinced Team New Zealand they are onto something special with their switch to leg-power to provide the juice for the giant wingsail, foil adjustments and control systems.

"We are really happy with it and we have set everything up around that system for a long time now. It's still a matter of refinement and constant updating. But the signs are good and we're happy with how we are going," Shoebridge says.

The AC Class catamaran in numbers:

2332-2432 kg: boat weight

60 metres: optical fibres

49,2 feet: hull length

25 meters: height of wing above water

Over 46 knots: top speed

6: crew members

87.5kg: average crew weight

90: Emirates Team New Zealand's members

The 35th America's Cup schedule for Bermuda

May 27-June 13: Challengers selection series, divided into Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs
June 18-19, 25-28: America's Cup match where the winning challenger faces the defender Oracle Team USA
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