Yachting: New cat almost ready for Team NZ

Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton. Photo / Natalie Slade.
Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton. Photo / Natalie Slade.

Team New Zealand will take delivery of their first AC72 catamaran by the middle of next month as their preparations for next year's America's Cup step up a gear.

The mammoth cat will be assembled - it will arrive at the base as components - before an official launch planned for late July.

The team started work on design and engineering in October 2010 and started building the boat in November last year. The sailing team, which has been heavily involved in the design process, will soon get their hands on the cat and start learning how to sail it fast and safely.

The AC72 is a massive leap for designers, boatbuilders and sailing team. More than 50,000 design hours have gone into the project and more than 500 parts will be manufactured locally in aluminium, titanium and composites. Seven Auckland machine shops have engineered the metal components - only deck gear and winches could be bought off the shelf.

Nothing like it has been built previously in New Zealand and Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said the race yacht will be delivered on budget and on time.

"That's remarkable considering the complexity of the design and build process and speaks volumes for the capability of the New Zealand marine industry," he said.

"A lot of people have worked long hours for more than 18 months to get to this point. A lot more work has to be done as we evaluate performance and learn about the AC72 and prepare to start building the second boat.

"For the time being, the AC72 will stay under wraps. Just like us, the other teams are about the design thinking of their second boat so security is critical over the next couple of months.

"You can bet that as soon as boat hits the water in July we will be in the spotlight - from the media and other teams."

Major parts of the Italian Luna Rossa AC72 are also being built in New Zealand.

The Team New Zealand base is also being prepared for the new arrival because, as big as the base building is, it's too small to house the cat.

The original Team New Zealand building from which team defended the America's Cup in 2000 and mounted the 2003 defence has been demolished to make way for a second structure of shipping containers and tent structure to house the platform.

The next event on the America's Cup world series will take place in Newport, Rhode Island, from June 23. Team New Zealand are in second, four points behind the Oracle team helmed by James Spithill.

- APNZ

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