A unique view of the America’s Cup racecourse
After months of sailing alone on the Hauraki Gulf, Emirates Team New Zealand have hundreds of pairs of eyes glued on them as they prepare to launch their race cat on the America’s Cup racecourse in Bermuda sometime this weekend.
Since arriving by special delivery in a cargo plane 10 days ago, the innovative AC50 has been painstakingly put back together by the Team NZ crew, who are now fully ensconced in their base on the edge of the Great Sound. Skipper Glenn Ashby hopes to have the red and black Aotearoa New Zealand dipped in the sea on Sunday.
Team NZ’s sailors are, naturally, itching to get out on the racecourse within the sound – a magnificent azure-blue lagoon within the submerged remains of a volcanic caldera. The main island of Bermuda, one of 181 islands in the Atlantic archipelago, is roughly the length of Waiheke Island, but half the size – and home to more than 60,000 people.
The Great Sound, the scene of Cup racing, is almost as long and as wide as the inner Waitemata Harbour. When racing in the Louis Vuitton challenger series begins in just 35 days, the weather is predicted to be perfect for fast catamaran racing – flat water, blue skies and an average wind speed of 11-13 knots.
The Kiwi sailing team has been out on the sound in chase boats this week, getting a close-up view of their rivals, who have been training and racing for the past few months. But they are keeping mum on whether, once their race boat is in the water, they will engage in racing against the five other teams during the period of official practice racing from Tuesday to Saturday next week.