Putting their foot on the scale

Published on March 5th, 2022

It’s hardly a fair fight when an America’s Cup team aims its firepower into recreational sailing. The escalation of commitment for international sport’s oldest prize is one thing, and arguably too much of a thing, but flexing the same muscle elsewhere can be overwhelming.

When the 2018 A-Class World Championship was in Australia, the Kiwi team stayed busy after their 2017 America’s Cup victory by applying their skills toward that trophy. Better boats and better tech earned victory, filling three of the four top spots.

Now the team finds itself again idle after their successful 2021 defense, this time seeking to shatter the land speed sailing record held by Richard Jenkins and his formidable Greenbird, which set the current record of 126.2 mph on Ivanpah Dry Lake near Prim, Nevada, USA on March 26 2009.

Sean Regan, the man in the middle of the production for Emirates Team New Zealand, has been a familiar fixture with the team for around 20 years,

“We have a build completion date on paper still. Easter is the middle weekend of April and right now that’s still our target to basically have this craft ready to start testing. The final tool is the wing tail and flap detail,” explained Regan.

Integral to the project is French naval architect Guillaume Verdier, known internationally as the guy that designed race winners such as the 100-foot Comanche, a stable of IMOCA 60s, maxi trimarans, and has been with Team New Zealand since 2010.

“We’re doing the cockpit as well. We supposed to have 14 guys next week and then 18 the week after.”

Pilot Glenn Ashby, who won that 2018 A-Class Worlds, will embark on a final location scout mission across the South and Western states of Australia to decide on where the record attempt will be later in the year focusing on the surface, the facilities and expected weather in the targeted window around August this year.

But prior to letting the land yacht rip on the salt lake, it will go through some basic testing in Auckland before being put on a ship.

“Although as a team we typically always try to hit our production targets and timelines, there is the elephant in the room called COVID that will no doubt disrupt the production,” said Ashby. “However, while we will always want more time to test in Auckland, we need to be realistic that the main objective here is to sign the craft off structurally.

“Because the biggest learnings we’re going to have are actually on the salt, so that’s where we need to get it across to Oz and actually get set up there and biggest learnings will come from that.”

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