Kiwi ingenuity born from failure

Published on March 18th, 2021

As the first team to uncover the secret on how to foil the AC72 prior to the 2013 America’s Cup, Team New Zealand has had a reputation as being cleverer than their opponents. But perhaps their effective ingenuity is born from failure as explained by John Gorter:


I own two test models used by Team New Zealand as they prepared to defend at the 2003 America’s Cup. The idea was a twin keel boat with a fore and aft appendage, each with its own ballast bulb at the bottom, and no connection between them.

Apparently this design was very fast, but they moved onto the “hula” concept which was a second section of hull attached under the stern, millimeters from the hull proper, and designed to increase the boats’ overall waterline length and volume and therefore increase their speed.

The twin keel development was part of the disaster of 2003 as TNZ spent a lot of money on these things and were subsequently out of money when they changed tack to the hula.


The 31st America’s Cup Match was a disaster for the Kiwi team in which they withdrew from the first race after gear failures, broke a mast in the fourth race and a spinnaker pole in the fifth race, losing 5-0 to Swiss challenge Alinghi.

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