Tuesday, 26 April 2011

America's Cup: China Team Gets Its Wing

The China Team became the latest group to take delivery of their AC45 in Auckland, New Zealand. Image copyright Ivor Wilkins/www.americascup.com

by Ivor Wilkins

The waterfront is becoming more and more active, with this sixth hardwing catamaran coming on stream. On the same day that China Team’s wing components were delivered to the waterfront, Emirates Team New Zealand were confirming their formal entry for AC34.

The China Team started their visit by watching Oracle Racing and Artemis Racing out training. “These boats are pretty cool,” said China Team crewman Cheng Ying Kit. “The wing sail is new technology, which is exciting for us. The boats are really fast and look quite physical. I am looking forward to sailing them.”

Cheng Ying Kit started sailing in dinghies, progressed to 49er skiffs and then more recently has been sailing keelboats, primarily Farr 30s, 40s and TP52s. His multihull experience is with a Hobie 16, but he is looking forward to making the transition.

He was in Auckland with a multinational group of sailors including Australian legend Mitch Booth and his son Taylor Booth for initial trials and the start of a training programme, which will see an increasing number of Chinese sailors brought on board. Mitch Booth is a two-time Olympic multihull medalist and 10-time world champion in Tornado, Hobie, A-Class and Formula 18 catamarans.

“At the moment we are starting to sail with a group of professional multihull sailors from the Extreme 40 circuit and the Olympics,” said Kit.

“We will start with a very strong team, which will teach us how to sail multihulls. First, though, we are getting our wing delivered and learning how to put it together and apply the film.

“It is important for us to learn how it all works because we will have to do all the maintenance. Our target is to have our boat ready for sailing next week.”

Yann Dabbadie, Design and Technical Director of China Team, added: “We are looking forward to being in the water and starting our sailing programme. It is very exciting.

“We will start with this group of international sailors and bring more and more Chinese sailors into the group to raise their level to the standard required for the America’s Cup.”

China Team’s sailing debut in the AC45s will coincide with a two-week period of testing and evaluation of course configurations, racing rules, support systems and television techniques in Auckland. The trials are being conducted under the auspices of America’s Cup Race Management and the America’s Cup Event Authority as teams gear up to the first AC45 World Series starting in Portugal this August.

America's Cup