Thursday, 14 July 2011

America's Cup : Emirates Team New Zealand Trains in SL33 Cats

Emirates Team New Zealand sailing its SL33 cats. Image copyright Chris Cameron/ETNZ

by Warren Douglas

Emirates Team New Zealand has ramped up its challenge for the 34th America’s Cup with the launch of two 33ft catamarans.

The catamarans have a dual role – crew training for the sailing team and as test platforms for the design team.

Managing director Grant Dalton says the yachts will be modified to test design concepts for the AC72 catamarans that will race in the 2013 America’s Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailing its SL33 cats. Image copyright Chris Cameron/ETNZ

Dalton said today: “We needed a way to get the entire sailing team working on the water and the design team wanted to be able to test in the real world.

“The SL33s are the ideal solution. With a crew of four or five the sailing crew will get the time on the water they need and the designers will be able to make frequent modifications over coming months.

“The yachts are plain black making modifications easier and cheaper to do.”
Skipper Dean Barker says the new cats complete the team’s development arsenal.

“The AC45 has been dismantled, packed into containers for shipping by Maersk Line to Portugal where the first pre-regatta of the 34th America’s Cup will be held starting on August 6.

“We have had a good long summer and autumn on the AC45, but we won’t have any further access to it for crew development. We will sail it for a few days before each regatta and then go racing. It will be dismantled after each regatta and shipped to the next venue.”

The SL33 was designed by American firm Morelli Melvin which is also part of the Emirates Team New Zealand design team. The yachts were built by Hakes Marine of Wellington.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailing its SL33 cats. Image copyright Chris Cameron/ETNZ

The team now has an impressive fleet of catamarans already sailing or being designed:

A class: Three, single-handed 20ft catamarans used as a first step to get monohull sailors on to the water in catamarans.

Extreme 40: Now on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, this high-performance yacht is raced by Dean Barker and crew in regattas that feature fast-action fleet racing with hard lessons on quick-fire tactics and boat handling in very tight situations.

AC45: The yacht that will be raced in America’s Cup pre-regattas, three this year and seven in 2012. This yacht has been packed in to 40ft containers and shipped to Europe by Maersk Line. The first regatta venue is Cascais, Portugal, starting on August 6.

SL33: Two yachts, just launched, based at Auckland, used for crew training and as design test beds.

On the drawing board: two AC72 catamarans, the 72ft wingsail cats that will race for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013. The team will build two, the first to be launched in July 2012.

Emirates Team New Zealand
America's Cup