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Team New Zealand today launched their second 2007 race yacht, with Prime Minister Helen Clark performing the honours at the team's base in Auckland.

More than 800 people associated with the campaign, including sponsors and suppliers, were invited to a base barbecue to mark the occasion.

Team managing director Grant Dalton said the launch of the new yacht set the course for the rest of the campaign.

"The hardware is in place and now it is up to the team to put together a regatta-winning performance.

"To achieve that we are now racing against the clock. We have come a long way since 2003 and we have a long way to go.

"We have until April 16 next year to pull together all the strands that will make it possible to win the America's Cup."

Team New Zealand will join the other 11 challengers in the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia, Spain, from April and June next year for the right to meet holders Alinghi in the event, from June 23 to July 7.

Dalton said the unveiling of their second racing boat was an important milestone for the team.

"In NZL 92 we think we have a potentially competitive yacht. Now, the yachtsmen, designers and shore crew have to extract that potential.

"That's not as easy as it sounds. We launched NZL 84 in December last year and we're still learning something every time we go sailing in it."

- NZPA