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New boat will hit ‘astonishing speeds’

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AUCKLAND — Emirates Team New Zealand have celebrated a long-awaited milestone at their Beaumont Street base in Auckland by launching their first custom-designed development boat.

The 45-foot catamaran has been in the process of being built for the past six months and has taken a dedicated team of boat builders and sub contractors more than 35,000 man hours to construct.

“This is certainly the most complicated boat we have ever built,” Sean Regan, the construction manager, said.

“The amount of detail and systems that go into the construction of this boat is astonishing.

“This has been a huge effort by our guys in the shed to create such an amazing piece of machinery, and of course the designers who have been pushing the design throughout the construction process.”

Although there are many aspects of the eventual race boats that are one-design, such as the hull shape, the wing shape and the deck layout, it is the hidden systems and designs which is where the speed is produced and ultimately where America's Cup will be won.

The limits have been pushed in all aspects of the technology in design and construction of the boat, which will be used as the main test and development platform, where key decisions will be made on how fast the actual America's Cup race yacht will be when it is launched in early 2017.

“We have purposely pushed the boundaries hard with the design of this boat, we had to,” said Dan Bernasconi, the man who lead the design process.

“We will be playing catch-up with the other teams, who have had the luxury of resource to have boats on the water for a long time now.

“However, although we're late to the party, a huge amount of research and development has gone into this project, and we're confident that we're launching a boat that is as advanced as that of any of our competitors. If we weren't prepared to push the technology as far as possible, we could not be in a position to win.”

Perhaps the man most excited by yesterday's launch is Glenn Ashby, the team's skipper and sailing team director, who plays such an integral role in the decisions that go into the design direction of the boat.

He and his sailing team have been waiting patiently for the boat to kiss the water so they can spend endless freezing hours over the coming months testing and flying around Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

“This is hugely exciting, our guys have been putting in long hours at the gym preparing for this so we are chomping at the bit to get her out on the water in the next week or so,” Ashby said.

“It's a proud moment, the team have been quietly working away down here in Auckland away from where a lot of the action is focused in Bermuda, we expect the arrival of some inquisitive competitors with cameras and long lenses to begin showing up in the next few days subsequent to this launch.

“We think the focus will now shift from Bermuda to Auckland for a while.”

The boat, known simply as Emirates Team New Zealand, sports a new branding design as well as the familiar logos of the teams loyal sponsors, Emirates, Omega, Toyota, Torpedo 7 as well as ASB.

“Until this point the team has been working extremely hard under the radar from our container base tucked away in Wynyard Quarter, so for me and the team, the most exciting thing is that after all this time, since 2013, the people of New Zealand can now see the fruits of our labour flying around the waterfront,” said Grant Dalton, Emirates Team New Zealand chief executive.

“You can't miss the boat, and I am sure some of the speeds which we estimate it will be reaching will be nothing short of astonishing for people to see. This boat makes the AC72 from San Francisco look like a dinosaur.”

Technologically advanced: the America's Cup challengers have been pushing the boundaries in developing their new boat (Photograph courtesy of Emirates Team New Zealand)

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Published June 23, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 23, 2016 at 8:42 am)

New boat will hit ‘astonishing speeds’

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