Team New Zealand: Back in the Saddle

Published on July 2nd, 2015

Portsmouth, UK (July 2, 2015) – Emirates Team New Zealand, the Challengers for the 34th America’s Cup who came so close to overhauling the defenders Oracle Team USA in 2013, took to the Solent in the foiling AC45 catamaran this week, lining up against home contenders Land Rover BAR.

Emirates Team New Zealand are the first visiting team to begin their training in the Solent prior to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth from July 23-26, 2015. Under the leadership of Sailing Director Glenn Ashby, the visiting sailors included helmsman Peter Burling and his Olympic crew Blair Tuke, Ray Davies, Richard Meacham and Guy Endean.

For the Kiwi team the trip to Britain has brought a first taste of sailing the newly converted foiling AC45Fs. The training camp is also a chance for Emirates Team New Zealand to trial different crew members in different roles.

“Last Thursday (June25) was our first sail on the water with our converted boat. It was great to be back on the water and just shake the boat down and make sure everything was working,” comments Ashby. “We’ve got a few different crew members here as well who are sort of rotating through, so it was good just to start that process.”

The event returns to the venue where the very first America’s Cup World Series event of 2013 was held. “The Solent’s an interesting place. I think the tide and the currents are probably the thing that’s most interesting thing here. Guys like Ray [Davies] have spent a lot of time on the Solent before, so have got quite a lot of experience in that. I think where we’re going to be racing, off Portsmouth, will be a great venue. We’re really looking forward to it,” Ashby commented.

While Land Rover BAR have been training out of their home base on Portsmouth’s Camber, Ashby isn’t intimidated by any home advantage that Britain’s Ainslie and his crew might enjoy. “I think being on your home field you tend to have a little bit of an advantage, but with the type of racing that we’re doing, it’s so micro-focussed when it’s happening, it’s almost gust by gust, shift by shift. Anything could happen.”

Having sparred with the eventual winners of the 34th America’s Cup, Oracle Team USA, in a nail-biting duel until the very end, the New Zealand crew are determined to hit the ground running with their challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.

“We are certainly competitive, as a lot of the other guys are as well. But for us really it’s about the start of a new beginning effectively for the team going forwards. It’s been almost two years since the last Cup and there’s been a lot of water go under the bridge between that time. For us as a team really it’s about stepping forward with a clean sheet of paper, and really looking forward to the challenge of this next couple of years,” said Ashby.

With only three AC World Series events in 2015, Ashby is eager to get going. “I think it will be absolutely full-out, I don’t think there will be anyone holding back. This event will effectively be the first foiling fleet race of an America’s Cup World Series – or ever, basically! There could be some different manoeuvres and people trying different things. I think this first event could be one of the most exciting AC45 World Series events ever seen!”

Videos released by Emirates Team New Zealand and Land Rover BAR…

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