Louis Vuitton Cup : Emirates Team New Zealand raises the bar

Emirates Team New Zealand has been the class act of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, and today the Kiwis set a new top speed for the AC72s while getting one point closer to a free pass into the final round.

Shortly after starting, skipper Dean Barker and the Kiwi crew recorded a top speed of 44.15 knots – 50.8 mph/81.7 kph/74.5 feet per second – on the first reach leg. The windspeed on the leg peaked at 15.8 knots. The team’s previous record was 43.26 knots, set on July 9 in slightly stronger winds.

“By far this is the coolest, most fun boat I’ve ever sailed on, there’s no doubt about that,” said Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby, who watched today’s race from the chase boat.

“Doing 40-plus knots reaching and downwind and low-to-mid 20 knots upwind, there’s no other boat as a sailor that you’d ever wish to sail on at that moment. The boats are getting faster and faster. Every month, we’re getting quicker. If we had another six or eight months of development we’d probably get another 3 to 4 knots quicker. The feeling sailing downwind is surreal, covering ground that quickly,” Ashby said.

Emirates Team New Zealand notched its fifth point of the series in five starts, four of which have been unopposed, yet the team has remained focused on the racecourse.

“It’s good to keep mixing it up, good to have the pressure of time lines and race starts to make sure our reliability is there,” said Adam Beashel. “Beasho” has been the bowman through the first few races but today moved back to wing trim, giving Ashby a break.

“Practicing maneuvers is invaluable,” said Beashel. “There’ll be a lot of that in the business end of the deal (the America’s Cup Final), so our maneuvers have to be up to scratch.”

Before Emirates Team New Zealand raced, defender ORACLE TEAM USA had exclusive use of the racecourse for 45 minutes. ORACLE TEAM USA had its two AC72s out, with skipper Jimmy Spithill and afterguard member Ben Ainslie at the helms.

“We managed to get a good hour on the racecourse. It was valuable time before the challengers started racing in the afternoon. We had a few races, good training,” said Kyle Langford, ORACLE TEAM USA wing trimmer. “The AC72s are awesome to sail, nothing compares. They’re one-of-a-kind, pushing the limits of what boats and sailing can do.”

About today’s race:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand sailed the five-leg America’s Cup course
  • Course length: 9.32 nautical miles
  • Elapsed time: 23 minutes, 1 second
  • Total distance sailed: 10.97 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 28.1 knots (32 mph)
  • Top speed: 44.15 knots (50.8 mph) on the first leg, a reach
  • Wind speed: average 15.5 knots; peak gust 17.4 knots

Quotes from: Richard Meacham, Emirates Team New Zealand bowman

On today’s race: “Today we took the opportunity to keep developing both the boat and the sailing team. To that effect, we ran through some of our crew rotations. We had Adam Beashel on the wing trim to give him some time there in the event that Glenn (Ashby) can’t sail for some reason. And because of that, I took Adam’s role on the bow.”

On yesterday’s race training versus Luna Rossa Challenge: “We had a very constructive day yesterday. It was a really good thing to do. The challenge in (unopposed race) days like today is making the most out of them. We sailed the course we were obliged to sail, and then continued our testing program to make sure we utilized the day on the water. Every day is valuable. The more time out there the better.”

Tags on NauticNews: Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup, AC72


– PR –

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