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America's Cup

First race for AC72 ?

For the first time ever, two AC72's have practised racing together. Not much breeze but a lot to be gained from some practise racing. Two AC72s have been sailing together in race formation as Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge trained together on Tuesday on the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland. “You learn a lot faster when you have another boat around you to punish you for your mistakes,” said Kiwi coach Rod Davis, explaining the benefit of sailing against another team.

“If I was in the other teams I’d be envious for sure,” boasted ETNZ managing director Grant Dalton of the arrangement. “I’d be a little worried, because this isn’t making us go slower, I know that.”

“To have two AC72s in the same piece of water and start to do a little bit of racing is exciting,” added skipper Dean Barker.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge trained togetherClick image for a larger image

Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC72 was the first to be launched – on July 21 – and the team has been testing and training alone. With only 30 days of sailing allowed under America’s Cup rules until the end of January 2012, every day is precious.

Today was sailing day No 20 and skipper Dean Barker welcomed the company on the water to add an element of competition to the sailing programme.

Luna Rossa was launched in Auckland on October 26 and has also been sailing alone. More practice races will beld over coming days. But tomorrow Emirates Team, New Zealand’s AC72 will be ashore for an appointment with the measurer.