Emirates Team New Zealand rolled out their new custom designed and built test boat Te Kāhu meaning ‘The Hawk’ in Auckland on Wednesday.
While their first AC75 Te Aihe is being shipped 60 days either way to and from Europe, by launching Te Kāhu now, ETNZ plan to continue their on-water development programme uninterrupted.
Te Kāhu fits within the rules on test yachts according to the 36th America’s Cup Protocol which says they must not exceed 12 metres length overall (LOA).
The surprise late launch of the test boat may seem a bit overdue, but Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton explained that . . .
“As a team, we decided that a test boat was indeed a really key necessity but believed it needed to have as much design input as our first AC75 to give it meaningful ongoing development possibilities.”
“There is no doubt looking back that the Challengers all learnt some valuable lessons and got a bit of a jump on us with their developments. But it was a conscious decision of ours to suck that up and play the long game knowing that points don’t start to count until the first race of the America’s Cup, which obviously is in March 2021.”
Head of Design, Dan Bernasconi explained . . .
“We know from experience that the development and gains that take place in the year before the America’s Cup are vitally important. We couldn’t afford to only be sailing on the water for the handful of weeks we will get on Te Aihe around the ACWS events between now and its return to New Zealand.”
Dalton directly concluded:
“In Te Kāhu we have a very legitimate test boat which will provide us the platform to hopefully make some significant gains in our developments for 2021. Who is right in their overall plans and strategy we have no idea. I guess we will find out next year.”
Emirates Team New Zealand are now in the process of packing up and preparing Te Aihe for shipping to Cagliari, Sardinia, in preparation for the first ACWS event in April, followed by the second ACWS event in Portsmouth, UK, in June.
The Cagliari event, from April 23 to April 26, is the first time the four AC75 will line up to race against each other.