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Kiwis jet in parts ahead of finals showdown

(Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Emirates Team New Zealand have been racing on two different fronts to keep their America’s Cup bid on track.

First, there’s the race on the water where they have earned the right to do battle with two-times defending champions Oracle Team USA in a rematch of the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco four years ago.

Then there is the behind-the-scenes race to have replacement parts for their yacht rapidly built and flown in. The Kiwis had an express package of parts flown to Bermuda in a hurry after damaging their boat in several incidents during the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Play-off series, including a dramatic nosedive and capsize against Land Rover BAR.

The shipment of the state-of-the-art pieces, which included a new rudder and a new batch of fairings, is intended to be in place for the grudge showdown with Oracle, which starts on Saturday.

Auckland-based company C-Tech has been working long hours to create the new parts for Team New Zealand, whom they have been supplying cutting-edge, carbon-fibre gear for the past 15 years.

“We originally made the fairings around the daggerboard case, which were smashed in the capsize, so we’ve been rebuilding those,” Alex Vallings, director of C-Tech, said. “The fairings we’ve had about eight people working on it for the past few days. They’re carbon panels made in a mould. Right through the campaign we’ve been building stuff for them; the rudders, daggerboard, all the hydraulic system around the case that control the angle of the daggerboard and a lot of tubing for the boat.”

Team New Zealand advanced to the 35th America’s Cup Match after defeating Sweden’s Artemis Racing 5-2 in the best-of-nine Challenger Play-off Finals.