Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Sailing: Team NZ's Manhattan project

America’s Cup racing, in NY harbour after 96 years, will be true test for sailors.
Emirates Team New Zealand have been studying the tricky conditions ahead of the America's Cup World Series races in New York.
Emirates Team New Zealand have been studying the tricky conditions ahead of the America's Cup World Series races in New York.

The return of America's Cup sailing to New York this weekend is set to provide the toughest test yet for the crews.

The second stop of the 2016 World Series will see America's Cup racing on the New York harbour for the first time in 96 years. It is hoped the footage of the one-design AC45s sailing against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline will spawn strong coverage in the US, which has proved a tough market to crack.

But the sailors will have little time to admire the spectacular views, with the conditions set to make life tough on board.

Emirates Team NZ meteorologist Roger Badham said the conditions will be some of the trickiest seen at any event yet, with the swirling breeze and current having the potential to wreak havoc on the fleet.

"The current and tide will be a significant factor sailing on the Hudson River. There is a tide that runs in and out which can be up to 2.5 knots and possibly 3 knots running down the river and that will then reverse for the incoming tide to run up the river at 1.5 to 2 knots with the flood tide and obviously the current will differ across the river - from the main stream to the banks," he said.

Badham and tactician Ray Davies have been working closely to study the weather forecast and local conditions to try to get a handle on how best to approach the racing.

"The forecast right now is looking quite variable which is never easy. Add to this we have the Hudson River with its strong current flow as well as a very turbulent breeze which does funny things coming through the Manhattan skyline, so this combined will create a very challenging racecourse." said Davies.

"It will require the teams to be really tuned in until the end of each race. Having the races close to shore will create some spectacular images. Hopefully we get some strong wind to really show what these boats can do."

The New York event is the fifth regatta in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, which Team New Zealand leads by six points overall.

Skipper Glenn Ashby puts his team's success thus far down to consistency, having produced a podium finish at every event so far. He hopes the Kiwi syndicate can continue to set the pace this weekend.

"If there is one thing these events illustrate vividly it is just how small the margins are between having a good or bad regatta, so you have to be on your game for every race especially the final day," said Ashby. "Our objective is to win and extend our lead overall. Simple as that."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 01 Oct 2016 01:17:12 Processing Time: 492ms