Thursday, 24 March 2011

America's Cup: Braving the Waves

Emirates Team New Zealand's AC45. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

by Hannah Davis

While the other teams opted for a maintenance day, Emirates Team New Zealand geared up with a wild day on the water and put their AC45 through its paces.

Forecasts this morning were for strong winds and a lot of rain, and Auckland delivered. “Today was great out there, definitely the most breeze we’ve had so far, probably between 15 to 25 knots,” commented skipper Dean Barker.

Not only was the breeze up, but also against the tide, generating the biggest seas they have seen for a while.

“The boats are great to sail, and definitely a lot more forgiving downwind than the Extreme 40,” continued Barker. “But you have to keep your wits about you, as it’s pretty easy to get into trouble.”

And on a day like today, it would have been very easy to get into trouble, but Emirates Team New Zealand cruised through the afternoon, returning safely to shore around 1400.

This evening gusts are expected to reach 40 knots, so a smart move by the team returning earlier rather than later.

The forecast tomorrow is for more of the same so a maintenance day is on deck for the Kiwis. “We will hit it hard on Wednesday but just have a day on shore tomorrow, we’ve got quite a bit to do…plus it’s going to rain again!” said Barker.

America's Cup