Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby has described the atmosphere in Bermuda as hospitable rather than hostile, with the escalating tensions in the America's Cup having been put to one side for now.

As Emirates Team New Zealand were packing up their boat earlier this month and preparing to depart for the Cup venue, Oracle chief executive and event head Russell Coutts fired a few missives the way of his former team. His comments came after Team NZ questioned a couple of late changes to the Protocol voted through by the five other competitors.

The increasing hostilities threatened to make Team NZ's arrival in Bermuda an uncomfortable one, but Ashby said the team have been made to feel very welcome.

"From my side we've been very well received as a team. Bermuda has welcomed us with open arms and we're very much enjoying being a part of the environment. I've seen a few of the guys [from other teams] on the water, and everyone has given us a wave and said g'day," said Ashby.


"I think everyone is pleased to have us finally over here. There's absolutely no doubt that all those other teams will be eager to see how we go in the early stages on our training and they'll be keeping a close eye on when we launch."

Ashby is hopeful Team NZ's race boat will be ready to hit the water again next weekend. The shore crew have been working around the clock to reassemble the 50-ft catamaran, which arrived in Bermuda on a cargo plane earlier this week.

It is not just a case of putting the platform and wing back together - the time consuming part is re-installing the electronic and hydraulic systems that control the boat.

The three weeks of down time so close to the event kicking off may seem a frustrating interlude, but Ashby still believes delaying their departure to Bermuda was in the team's best interests.

He admits though, now he is there, he's eager to get going.

"I'm a cat on hot bricks at the moment, we're all super excited to get out on the water up here, but from my perspective it's been a long three years to get to this point," said Ashby.

"We want to get out there and there and mix it up and learn as much as we can in the next 40 days before we start racing. We've got a huge amount on our list to try and tick off and the guys are in a great space to get into that. As group we're pretty happy with the position we're in at this stage of the game."

The team are still undecided as to whether they will take part in the final official practice racing window later this month.


A late amendment to the rules granted teams the ability to race in an organised fashion at the Cup venue during nominated periods. The last of those racing windows will be April 24-28, and while Team NZ are aiming to be on the water by that stage, Ashby said they made not be in a position where they're ready, or willing, to race.

"We've done a pretty good job of hiding away in Auckland as much as we can, and we know we will have to show our cards pretty soon," he said.

"It's still not clear at this point whether we'll be in a position to make it out on the water in time for the next period of practice racing. But even sailing around the Great Sound, it's going to be pretty difficult to not end up in the same piece of water as another boat. So whether we do the racing or not, I expect in 2-3 weeks we'll have an idea of how the other guys are going and they will have an idea of how we're going. It's just part and parcel of training in the same playground."