Team New Zealand ‘in the dark’ over America’s Cup designs, says Glenn Ashby
Team New Zealand will face an information overload when they put their new boat on the water in the next few weeks.
TNZ’s first AC75 boat will hit the Waitemata Harbour in August or September, a big moment in the campaign to defend the America’s Cup in March 2021.
Glenn Ashby, TNZ’s 2017 skipper, told Radio Sport’s Jim Kayes that time was already ticking on the radical new foiling monohull design.
The initial boat will face its first big test at the America’s Cup World Series in Italy next April, but many things will be locked in place by then.
“Internally we’ve been wondering what the other teams will be coming up with,” Ashby says. “The rule is really great with lots of areas of freedom to explore design and engineering… but also some fantastic one design componentry to keep a lid on costs, for areas which don’t ultimately make a huge difference to winning or losing.
“The hull design, the foil horizontal design, sail design – there is a huge amount where we’re unsure what our opponents will come up with. Over the next couple of months we’ll find out.
“We’ve been doing it behind closed doors. All the other teams have been doing the same. Once you wheel out of the sheds it’s open for all the world to see. You can’t keep anything a secret then.
“You can do a lot indoors but you need to get out on the water, work together as a tight unit…it will be a big learning curve for all of us.
“Those first two or three weeks, there will be so much data coming in there won’t be enough hours in the day to go through everything and check everything off.”
Ashby said it would be difficult to make major changes if April’s racing in Sardinia exposed any problems.
“Effectively the pathway you’ve set has already been done – a lot of those decisions have been made over the last 12 to 18 months,” he says. “It’s quite difficult to change the whole pathway…by the time we get to Italy the second boats for a lot of the teams will have been designed and halfway through the build.
“Time is ticking…all of a suddenly you are up against it. You can’t buy time, every team runs out of it.”
Ashby says the boats would be “absolutely pushing the limits” with cutting edge technology. But he claims team boss Grant Dalton had been reported out of context in highlighting the dangers of sailing the AC75s. Ashby believes the boats will be safer to sail than those used in San Francisco and Bermuda.
“To be a defender in our home country is really something that is super special,” he says. “It will be absolutely spectacular. We’ve had the America’s Cup here before but this one will take the cake over how spectacular it is, with the technology and the infrastructure.
“The sailing will be absolutely awesome with these boats if the weather plays the game.
“They wont pitch-pole, you won’t be dangling from 10 or 15 metres above the water, as we saw with a couple of boats in San Francisco, or going over the handle bars as in Bermuda. If they roll you will be sitting in the bath – it shouldn’t be too bad.”
Source: New Zealand Herald
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