Team New Zealand's nosedive shock last week has unexpectedly made the Kiwi crew more comfortable with the safety of their boat.

The Kiwi team had a major scare in training last Thursday when their America's Cup race boat nose dived into the water as the team attempted a tight harbour exit in Bermuda.

The port hull ended up almost completely under water in the dramatic incident, which was caught by on-board cameras, causing a major spike in heart-rates in the team.

But grinder Joe Sullivan, who was watching on from the chase boat when the incident occurred, said the hair-raising moment later provided him with some comfort as it disproved theories that the team's radical cycle-grinding set-up may leave them more vulnerable to losing crew overboard.


Given the crew on the cycle grinding "pedalstals" are sitting much higher above the waterline and don't have their feet planted, there were concerns Team NZ were more at risk of losing people overboard in near-capsize and nose-dive scenarios.

"It wasn't a very nice thing to see, but in some ways it was quite good for the old peace of mind because it can get quite dodgy and hairy out there," the former Olympic rower said.

"It definitely provided a good test that it is actually a lot more stable than anyone thought. With the normal pedestal grinding you're kind of only holding on with two hands. We're clipped in and sitting on a seat and holding on with our hands as well so we have five points of contact, which really helps keep you nice and stable."

Our kiwi mates had a close call today exiting the harbour. Glad everyone is ok.

A post shared by Tom Slingsby (@tslingsby) on

Sullivan said the team have had a few "dodgy" moments during their testing programme in Auckland, but last week's incident was the "worst one by far and hopefully the last".

"We really need to keep it in one piece, we can't afford to have any major stuff-ups, it just takes too much out of the team. A lot of work goes in to get it fixed and ready to go the next day," said Sullivan.

While the nosedive scare provided the team with helpful information, the biggest learning experiences in Bermuda came in last weekend's practice racing. Having spent much of their build-up in Auckland with only their chase boat to spar against, Team NZ's involvement in the final day of the third official practice racing window gave the team a much-needed test under race conditions.

Sullivan, who up until last weekend had never been in a yacht race before, found the experience particularly valuable.

"It was definitely a bit more intense, every one is really switched on and really locked into what we're doing. We didn't have the best of races, but we learnt a lot, which was really good and just to get out there and really cement that understanding of what you need to do and what the boat needs was really helpful."

The next official practice racing window will be held from May 16-20.