America’s Cup Rialto: August 27 – Te Aihe emerges from 10 day break

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/NZ 27 Aug 02:19 UTC 27 August 2020 Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com Tweet

Emirates Team New Zealand launched their AC75, Te Aihe at dawn this morning, and left the dock an hour later just before 0800hrs.

It was the first time Te Aihe had seen sunlight for 10 days – mostly due to inclement Auckland weather, plus a couple of light air days, last weekend.

Her only rival in Auckland, New York Yacht Club’s team American Magic has not been able to pick and chose their weather windows quite so easily, with five months of lost sailing time to catch up – being collateral damage from the effects of COVID-19 on the America’s Cup regatta schedule.


Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

The US team braved wild conditions yesterday afternoon for a two hour workout, off the East Coast Bays, which was probably the most extreme conditions that we’ve seen an AC75 sail.

“It was good to go out in top end conditions, get in some laps and come back to the dock on schedule,” skipper Terry Hutchinson said today. “As you know Mother Nature is quite volatile this time of the year, so we were happy to beat the next line squall that blew through.” On the Waitemata that squall measured 30kt average gusting over 35kts.


American Magic flies on wild Wednesday – East Coast Bays – August 26, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

“It was pretty fresh”, was all Hutchinson would say about the top end wind speed seen aboard Defiant and as is usual with AC teams there was no revelations on boat speeds. “But with the upper wind limits being 23 kts in the Match we need to learn how to race across all conditions,” he added. “This was just part of that process.”

The Kiwis set their alarm clocks for an early morning weather window, and got a much easier time than Defiant received yesterday afternoon.

The narrative from Predictwind had the early morning forecast as a westerly of 9-14kts, gusting to 18kts, and gusting to 24kts before 1300hrs and then going to 29kts in the afternoon.

Te Aihe towed out, set up in the usual area a mile or so off North Head and then did a couple of runs around the Rangitoto Channel and Waitemata Harbour before heading out into the Rangitoto Channel, with a #2 jib, and were soon a speck on the horizon – having apparently managed to give the slip, at least initially, to the Challengers’ reconnaissance teams.


Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

Images from the warm-up lap indicated that the Kiwis, not unusually, were running with different wings on each side. Which was the test wing and which was the benchmark was theirs to know and others to work out.

Emirates Team New Zealand returned under tow just after 1100hrs – a few minutes before the first serious rain squall of the day arrived, and that was it for the day.

Later, the prediction turned out to be on the light side with the worst mid-afternoon squall averaging over 30kts, gusting 40kts.

The forecast tomorrow, Friday and indeed through to next Wednesday is for conditions more typical of Auckland’s summer, with westerly winds (offshore) and all below 20kts.


Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com
Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com
Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com


Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com


Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com


Emirates Team New Zealand – Waitemata Harbour – August 27, 2020 – 36th America’s Cup – photo © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com


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