Emirates Team New Zealand are expected to roll out their second AC75 America’s Cup boat on Thursday evening – New Zealand time.
The America’s Cup defender is the last AC36 team to unveil their boat ahead of the first races for the four teams, due to start on the 17 December 2020.
The three challengers, Luna Rossa, INEOS Team UK and American Magic have been testing for over two weeks with their new AC75s on the America’s Cup competition waters off Auckland.
ETNZ packed away their first boat, Te Aihe, and have been working on the second hull, apparently taking longer than they expected.
And while this will put pressure on them to be ready in time for the mid December pre-Christmas racing series, they could be willing to sacrifice some on-water time, having managed to rack-up more in-boat time on the AC36 waters than any other team.
Those imminent races will be the first time that the AC75 class have raced together, and the only chance for the teams to see how they compare before the Prada Cup challenger selection trials start in January 2021.
The three challengers have all revealed considerable change to their first designs, non more so than the dramatic skeg/bustle hull arrangement on the British boat, Britannia 2.
INEOS Team UK bow cam view of their radical second AC75 Britannia 2
And all have shown handling and performance improvements with their second boats, raising the bar for the defender, ETNZ.
British team skipper, Ben Ainslie has predicted that the Kiwi team will be quite aggressive.
ETNZ started with a considerable boost from their initial knowledge of the AC75 design rule, which they helped develop, and are expected to have built on that advantage to refine their second hull.
At the previous America’s Cup in Bermuda the kept their developments under wraps until the last possible moment, to ensure that other teams did not have time to copy any improvements.
They are expected to follow a similar process to mount a strong defence of the Auld Mug in 2021.