Northland has been given the thumbs-up by those based on the Bream bay coast testing supercharged foiling catamarans for two months.

Some of the world's best sailors tested the ultra-high-performance fully-foiling 50-foot catamarans off Bream Bay before they compete in five events around the world starting in Sydney in February, then San Francisco, New York, Cowes in England and Marseilles in France.

For just over three months the impressive racing machines, built by a company based in Warkworth, zipped along the waters of Bream Bay. Testing for the six international crews wrapped up just before Christmas.

During the trials, more than 45 people were involved in the daily operation, with bases at Northport and Marsden Maritime Holdings at One Tree Point.


The four-hour daily sailing sessions involved the teams performing a number of manoeuvres to test the boat's structure and equipment, including the light- and heavy-air hydrofoils, control systems, safety equipment, battery and hydraulic pumps.

Those involved in the preparation and sea trails they had nothing but praise for their Northland base.

"We're extremely happy with the result of our sea trials in New Zealand, which was a fantastic host for this critical building and testing phase for SailGP," said Brad Marsh, SailGP tech team operations manager, on the Sail GP website.

"We seamlessly integrated in to the Northland community, using the many resources available to get this project over the finish line. Northport and the entire Northland region played a large role in our success, and we can't thank the people of New Zealand enough for the support."

It was also the fruition of over a year's worth of work by Core Builders Composites, which began the construction process for the fleet of six identical boats in September 2017.

A team of more than 100 highly skilled engineers and technicians were employed by the Warkworth-based company to ensure the on-time delivery of the ground-breaking boats.

Heading the Core Builders Composites team was Kerikeri man Mark Turner.

"To get six of these high-tech boats completed has been a huge undertaking," Turner said.


"Our shared services team will also manage all of the logistics, any major repairs and maintenance for all teams as we travel around the world to the different venues. We are delighted with how the boats performed and with how the sea trials have gone, and we were able to stress test our resources and equipment before sending our first containers to Sydney."

A top speed of 49.7 knots was achieved by Olympic champion Tom Slingsby and his Australia SailGP Team, attained in 17 knots of wind in Bream Bay.

Overall, the F50 is expected to have a 12-15 per cent performance improvement from its predecessor, the AC50, and once fully developed, the F50 should reach speeds well into the 50-knot range.

"With these boats, we are really pushing the boundaries of what's possible in sailing, and we proved that with the speeds that we achieved during the sea trials", said Slingsby.

"The F50 is an amazing boat to sail and we now can't wait to start racing at the first event in Sydney and show the world what they are capable of. It's going to be really challenging, particularly in the early events of season one when the teams have not had many training hours. I like the fact that these are hard boats to sail, because it creates a true test of skill, athleticism and team work."

The first round is in February in Sydney. The winner of the series gets the US$1 million prize.

New Zealander Russell Coutts, and Larry Ellison, are backing the series.