Jan 5, 2017

AC 35th: Team New Zealand establish base in Bermuda

Interest in this Cup has gone flat for a while, not even a protocol amendment to make a 28 days 'ban' on sailing the AC50s turns head around. Read detailed insights on this new soap opera originated on the cancellation of a Qualifier series in New Zealand (after TNZ voted against changing rules from initial AC62s)  at Sail World by Richard Gladwell here.

Team New Zealand innovated and established a new flying mode for last Cup, and their work will go down in history as a great Milestone for sailing. They also were too close to winning the Cup , but finally it didn´t materialized for them.

For this Cup and with the hard OD rule in place with identical hulls/wings/case position etc , the room to innovate from a design or systems side is quite relegated if not null. That leaves the New Zealanders with their constant top asset as best weapon, which is having the best sailors in the World like Peter Burling, undoubtedly Nr 1 nowadays, at the helm position, if you add the support, skills & knowledge of the Aussie legend Glenn Ashby, leading a talented sailing team, New Zealand has again a good chance to the Finals.

I like Artemis on their great work and background story, but I would like New Zealand to recover the Cup, and I don´t see them going back to monos if they win either way.

Below official press release sent by Team New Zealand.

Emirates Team New Zealand is back hard at work this week as 2017, the year of the 35th America’s Cup, kicks off at the frantic pace needed to ensure the team arrives in Bermuda in the strongest possible shape to win back the America’s Cup in the next six months.

After only a day and a half back on
the job, a combined task force of sailors, designers, shore and administration team members has already seen the 990 square meters platform tent deconstructed and loaded into containers to put on a ship to Bermuda.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton describes the scene at the base on the 3rd of January as ‘inspiring’.
“It has been an encouraging way to start the year for the team and I. To look out of my office window and see an army of team members from all departments, including the entire sailing team, ripping into the hard labour that needed to be done from 0700 on a public holiday was inspiring.”

The Christmas break for the team was not long, especially after the intense schedule the team endured with the testing and development right up until Christmas. But the break has obviously had the desired effect with everyone returning to work full of energy and with the realization that this is the year of the America’s Cup, and it is all or nothing.

Skipper Glenn Ashby and his sailing crew were right in the mix having swapped their sailing shoes for safety boots.

“The past couple of days have really shown what commitment the whole team has to the goal of winning the America’s Cup this year, but also to each other.”
“For us its just all about doing what has to be done, keeping our heads down and chipping away at every little detail to win the cup back for New Zealand.”

With minds currently on the move to Bermuda, they of course are not far away from the serious business of what happens on the water between now and the 26th of May for the first race day of the Louis Vuitton Cup Qualifiers.

Especially so with the latest Protocol Amendment 13, (Article 35.5) being published in recent days in regard to a 28 day non sailing ‘black out’ period applicable from the 9th of January 2017.

As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision of when to launch their America’s Cup Class race boat:

- Article 35.5 is amended by the addition of sub clauses (d), (e) and (f) which establish a requirement for each competitor to observe a blackout period of 28 consecutive days during which it will not sail its AC Class Yacht.

- Competitors may elect to take the blackout period at any time from 9 January 2017 and are required to nominate their respective periods by advising the dates to the Regatta Director prior to the commencement of the period.

- Competitors cannot sail their race yacht during the blackout period and if it has been previously launched it cannot be worked on during the nominated blackout period.

So, although teams have been permitted to launch their AC Class race yachts since 27 December 2016 (150 days before the first race in the AC Qualifier) this new provision adds a new strategic decision for all teams.

Plenty of decisions to make, and plenty of containers to continue to load.
2017 has arrived!