Sailing: Team NZ test sea off Bermuda

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed their America's Cup Class race boat on the Great Sound for the first time over the weekend - and yesterday it showed no ill effects from having a rudder missing when it was hauled out of the water on Sunday.

The boat, New Zealand Aotearoa, arrived in Bermuda on March 10 and was reassembled in just 12 days.

When the Kiwis' boat was being hauled out after the earlier session, spectators noticed that the port side rudder was missing, according to a report by the Royal Gazette. Crew had been working inside the hulls.

A diver came up empty at first but Team NZ must have found the rudder in the 12m-deep basin because they had two rudders installed when they launched yesterday.

Of Sunday's sail, Team NZ said: "The evening sail was more about a recommissioning of the systems and components to make sure everything was working properly before getting back into the mindset of pushing the development hard, day after day."

Obviously pleased, chief executive Grant Dalton said: "It was a huge effort by the shore crew and the whole team to get us out again."

Not missing a beat, Team NZ were back on the water yesterday.

They were up and foiling as they headed out the channel and turned south into the Great Sound.

The breeze was from the west-southwest at about eight to 10 knots and the seas had a slight chop. The racers should face similar conditions in late May and June.

The next racing practice period, when competitors can match race against each other, starts today.

The first race of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup qualifiers is in 34 days.

- NZ Herald

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