The second race boat built by America's Cup challenger INEOS Team UK is bound for New Zealand.
The 75-foot race boat (code named RB2) will take four days, with two stopovers, onboard a 1987 Ukrainian Antonov cargo plane to get to Auckland.
Once the race boat arrives at the newly constructed INEOS Team UK base in the Viaduct the final fit out will be completed ready for her launch and maiden sail next month.
Holders Team New Zealand and challenger American Magic are already testing in Waitemata Harbour but the Italian Luna Rossa Challenger of Record is likely to face two months with no sailing, having wound up its European summer sailing campaign in Sardinia on August 28.
Four times Olympic Gold medallist, America's Cup winner, INEOS Team UK Team Principal and skipper Sir Ben Ainslie is currently in two-week mandatory quarantine and counting down the days until sailing operations begin.
"As a challenger you're always playing catch up on the race boat design from the Defender who gets to define the rules," he said.
"That's the game we chose to compete in, so we had to give ourselves maximum design and build time in the UK, which meant the Antonov was the only transport option. It's testament to the huge effort by the whole team to get RB2 built and delivered to New Zealand on schedule. We can't wait to get her out sailing."
Project Director Dave Endean has overseen the build and safe transportation of RB2 to New Zealand.
"It's been a huge operation to get to this point and a real team effort.", said Dave Endean.
"The logistics of moving an entire America's Cup team, including two AC75 boats, to New Zealand are not insignificant and it has taken a lot of time and hard work from the entire team to make it happen. It was an important milestone to get our race boat on the Antonov cargo plane today and I, and the rest of our team left in the UK, can't wait to join the team in New Zealand now and get sailing in the Auckland Harbour."
Ainslie is promising a vastly different second generation AC75 to their first boat 'Britannia.'
Earlier this month, Ainslie told NZME from his base in Portsmouth that all the team's boats will be significantly different.
"I was talking to Grant Dalton (Team NZ CEO) the other day and he was saying even with the New Zealand boat and Italian boats, which are similar, they are making some big changes and you would expect that in a new class and development class like this, there will be some really big differences," he said.
"There will be some big differences in performance for sure when we first line up against each other and the key will be how quickly the teams develop and keep developing through the competition."
Ainslie believes the two months leading up to the Christmas Cup regatta featuring all four teams will be more intense than usual in the America's Cup cycle due to the uncertainty and unknown created by the Covid-19 pandemic. The cancellation of the Cagliari and Portsmouth regattas has added another level of intrigue and Ainslie's excited.
"There's so much more intrigue because no one's lined up in a brand new class of boat. It's going to be a really intense period for all the teams and really exciting to see how people line up and how they develop and which teams develop through the competition, so it's going to be a lot to take in in the next six months in the America's Cup world," he said.