Yachting: Team NZ finish 30 days of testing

Emirates Team New Zealand yesterday completed the permitted 30 days of testing and training with their first AC72 catamaran and will today start decommissioning the yacht and concentrate on their second boat ahead of next year's America's Cup.

Rules for the 34th America's Cup allow for 30 sailing days with the first boat between July 2012 and the end of January 2013.

Boat 1 will be refitted and held in reserve, to be commissioned quickly in the event it's needed, but winch drums and some hardware will be removed from the yacht and fitted to Boat 2.

Components for the new boat are being built at Auckland and the second wing is being assembled at the team's Viaduct Harbour base. Hulls, beams and other parts of the platform will be delivered to the base early in January for a launch in early February.

Managing director Grant Dalton said the team was fortunate to be able to complete the sailing programme in good time, giving plenty of time to commission Boat 2.

"We never considered sailing both boats together because of the logistics and cost involved,'' he said. "It takes 35 people 112 hours to launch the AC72. Three hours out of morning to launch two 72s and three hours at the other end of the day to retrieve them is out of the question.

"The only solution would be to have two separate operations to launch, retrieve, maintain and improve two AC72s and that is not a realistic prospect for Emirates Team New Zealand.''

Team New Zealand have a special arrangement with Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, who are also based in Auckland, and the two teams have trained together.

The America's Cup gets under way in San Francisco in July.

- APNZ

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