Kiwis Go With Pedal Power

Published on February 14th, 2017

America’s Cup challenger Emirates Team New Zealand has not yet moved to Bermuda, instead remaining in Auckland to utilize the summer winds for training. Perhaps they are also trying to learn a lesson.

After revealing their foiling ability too soon in the lead up to the 2013 edition, allowing other teams enough time to catch up, maybe the Kiwis are hoping to covet what they have a bit longer. And what they have might be significant.

In advance of the official launch of their America’s Cup Class boat on Thursday, February 16, the team went out for a test sail and revealed their grinders will be using leg power, taking a page out of history when Swedish challenger Sverige tried a similar set-up on their 12 Meter for the 1977 America’s Cup.

With four out of the six crew expected to be grinding nearly full-on during the race, the Kiwis have opted to use the legs which can generate more power than arms.

Not buying into the decision is former Kiwi skipper Dean Barker who is now at the helm of challenger SoftBank Team Japan. Barker reports that the benefit will not outweigh the downside.

“There’s a real balance,” notes Baker. “The theory is 100 percent correct. Cycling will produce a hell of a lot more power. But the dynamics of these boats, changing sides frequently, different maneuvers, there is a cost to go down that path.

“Good on them for giving a different concept a go. All the teams have evaluated – we have, Oracle also – and the decision we took is that it isn’t going to pay for itself.”

Barker said it was “very unlikely” that other boats would make a late decision to follow suit and there was more to the move than power.

“One of the strong reasons for going down this path for TNZ is it frees up the hands for any flight control systems they’ve developed,” explained Barker. “They can effectively have a pilot and not just rely on a helmsman or the trimmer.”

The qualifiers and challenger playoffs begin in Bermuda in late May.

Pedal power!

Posted by Scuttlebutt Sailing News on Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Team NZ changing from grinding to pedalling?The launch of the new Emirates Team New Zealand boat is tomorrow, and sailors are rumoured to be making the shift from grinding to pedalling – what are your thoughts?

Posted by Breakfast on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Background: The 35th American’s Cup has attracted six teams (5 challengers and 1 defender) that will compete in the new 15-meter AC Class, with a series of qualifiers beginning on May 26, 2017 that lead to the start of the America’s Cup Match on June 17, 2017. Complete schedule.

Source: New Zealand Herald, Scuttlebutt

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