The Emirates Team New Zealand AC45 testing the wing extension on Auckland Harbour
Grant Dalton blogs on a valuable week on the water ….
We had a really good nine days’ training with the AC45 in Auckland and, for a change, even the weather played ball. Along with Prada we also had plenty of close practice racing.
We also tested the wing extensions that will be used in lighter airs this season. Structurally and operationally it worked first time and we experienced no problems at all – so nice work to ACRM on that.
The boys could not pick a difference in boat performance or power between the original set up and the boat with the wing extension except when bearing away in breeze when it was evident that the extra 30kg was trying to “accelerate” over the front. Nothing scary though.
The TV guys (I get confused – are they from ACRM or ACEA?) came in for a few days as well and tested the camera gear that’s now covered by the extension. Again no issues as far as I am aware.
The boat certainly looks better with the taller rig and, probably, we were using it in stronger winds than originally intended. But when the wind is light, extension or no extension, cats don’t go that well.
This extra area also provides another branding opportunity, which when you survive off sponsorship as we do, didn’t pass me by. There has been no word on who “owns” the space. I see it this way: if ACRM “owns” the space I hope we don’t see an account for building the extension. If we do, fine by me.
But when you look at them, well built as they are, I just can’t see the hours (read expected cost to the teams) in them when they are effectively punching them out: what is it, 12 boats or so? And can all the teams afford to pay for them, or do they just get added to the “leases”.
So now both the Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand boats are packed into containers and are on their way to Naples.
For me, Joe Allen and Rod Davis next on the agenda is a trip to China. It’s quoted as the “Hawaii of China”. From what my guys tell me, anyone who thinks that has never been to Hawaii.
A lot has been written about CAMPER’s performance, both on speed and tactics. As Rod Davis says, first things first. We have to try to stop the points leakage from the in-port races.
Then there is the small matter of the race from China to Auckland to worry about. Along with Nico, we are addressing how we can turn these “nearlies”’ into “wins”. It’s a bit unlike me, but I am not going to expand on that here, not until I think we have made a move to help the situation.
And then there is the other small matter of the collapsing Euro. Now that is a headache I can assure you.
So, the next blog is from China.