It was a low key but very welcome return for the Emirates Team New Zealand AC75 ‘Te Aihe’ in the dark hours of Tuesday morning (26 May).
Te Aihe’s last sailing day on Auckland harbour was 15 January.
She returns to a country recovering from coronavirus lockdown, with borders closed to all but New Zealand citizens, and the likelihood of the 36th America’s Cup event taking place in the balance.
Since then Te Aihe, and 16 containers storing workshops, chase boats and everything an America’s Cup team would need to work remotely in Cagliari and Portsmouth has been packed and shipped to Italy and back without so much as the seals being broken.
They have traveled on four ships, visited 15 ports including loading on and off in Tauranga, transhipped in Singapore each way and been loaded off and on in Gioia Tauro Italy.
Te Aihe was transported by road from Tauranga back to the Emirates Team New Zealand base arriving to a small welcome party – Andy Nottage, Jack Taylor and James Graham, to offload the truck ready to return to its shed and be prepared for sailing in the weeks ahead.
“It is good to see her back sooner than expected,” said Emirates Team New Zealand logistics manager Andy Nottage, who has successfully managed to juggle the fluid timeframes and shipping schedules to keep track and control of the precious shipment.
“She has been on quite the adventure, but it is good to have her home in one piece thanks largely to the ongoing support of Maersk.”
“A positive is that everything was sent away in a relative state of readiness to get set up and ready to go sailing relatively quickly in Cagliari, so that should mean it is not too long to get her back out sailing on the Hauraki Gulf again.”
“We have had some new components and systems that were ready for the ACWS racing so the guys are chomping at the bit to getting back out testing the new set ups and continuing our developments and obviously making up for lost time.”