The cutting-edge yacht that Team New Zealand are to use to defend the America’s Cup took to the water in Auckland yesterday, with crew members describing it as a “flying machine.”
The 23m yacht features innovative foil arms, which lift the hull above the surface of the water into the air, reducing drag and increasing racing speed.
Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby said that the vessel — which is expected to reach speeds of more than 50 knots (93kph) — was part racing yacht and part aircraft.
“It is a boat and it has to go through the water, but it’s also a flying machine,” Ashby said.
“The hairs on the back of your neck stand up when this thing goes in the water, and over the next few days and weeks I just can’t wait to get out there,” he said.
The yacht is named Te Rehutai, a Maori-language expression referring to the strength and energy of the ocean.
The second generation of the AC75 class boat are single-hulled and much larger than the 15m foiling catamarans used at the previous America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017.
The Auckland event is to pit challengers against each other in the Prada Cup in January and February, with the winner then racing Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup in March.
The three confirmed challengers are Luna Rossa from Italy, American Magic and INEOS Team UK.
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