America's Cup: Giant yachts prove critics wrong

By Anton Crump

Emirates Team New Zealand leads Oracle Team USA down the first run in race seven on day four of the America's Cup 34. 12/9/2013. Photo / File.
Emirates Team New Zealand leads Oracle Team USA down the first run in race seven on day four of the America's Cup 34. 12/9/2013. Photo / File.

Breakages and gear failures were expected, but NZ Marine executive director Peter Bushfield says he's thrilled that the boats contesting the America's Cup in San Fransisco have "held together".

Bushfield said he believes sound engineering and construction in New Zealand has played a pivotal role in the performance of Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA's 72-foot catamarans' performance so far.

Results aside, the giant yachts have proven many critics wrong in the mechanics and reliability department.

Emirates Team NZ's two cats, Luna Rossa's boat as well as the cross-beams and the wing sail components of Oracles's two AC72's were built in New Zealand. Artemis Challenge's AC72's were constructed entirely in Europe.

"It just shows how well the boat building industry is working in New Zealand. I'm thrilled to see these machines performing like they have," Bushfield said.

"These AC72 catamarans are just such advanced pieces of technology and design. There's so many components, sure things are expected to break."

"But I think, and yes it is surprising, just how well the three boats that were constructed in New Zealand have performed."

Asked whether the one-sided nature of the Louis Vuitton Cup and now the America's Cup finals is concerning, Bushfield said no.

"The boats are very even. The design and building has been very close. It's all in the slick work of the crews."

"If the Oracle and Team New Zealand crews swapped boats I think the results would be the same. It's testament to how hard Team NZ are working. That's how good they are right now."

"Rob Waddell told me that he's worked harder during this series than he had to in Sydney to win his gold at the Olympics."

Bushfield said that purists calling for a return to monohull sailing are misguided. "I'd totally disagree (with a switch back to monohulls). What we're seeing on the water in San Fransisco is fantastic, I think the times that Team New Zealand are beating Oracle by in terms of an argument on race competitiveness are off the mark. "In the monohull days 47 seconds and 1m 6s (Team NZ's wins in races six and seven) would have been very close."

- NZ Herald

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