WATCH: Emirates Team New Zealand AC40 nose-dives, causing bow damage

Emirates Team New Zealand has suffered damage to the bow of its AC40 after an early start testing on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf in some top end conditions.

In recent weeks the AC40 has been taken out of its one design configuration and testing stepped up in its development and data collection towards the design of its AC75.

The team was testing under manual flight control to the north of Waiheke Island in around 15-20 knots of windspeed and large waves. While sailing downwind at over 40 knots of boat speed, the crew onboard lost control of the ride height which caused the rudder and elevator to come out of the water.

This resulted in a high-speed uncontrolled gybe and simultaneous deep nose-dive followed by a capsize.

The resulting impact of the water pressure collapsed the foredeck at the bow of the AC40. Significantly, the watertight bulkhead aft of where the damage occurred maintained its structural integrity, successfully serving the purpose of controlling water ingress so the boat could be righted and towed back to base.

Within moments of the incident the team on the water, as well as the design and build team back at the base, were well into a programme to assess the damage and repair timeline. ETNZ says it’s important it understands the precise loads on the structures in the incident and the lessons that can be learned and implemented going forward.

“It appears that when the boat nose-dived, which was the best we have done, the high water pressure and side load collapsed the forward section of the deck causing the resulting bow damage,” says CEO Grant Dalton. “The designers are analysing the load cases of the incident and although it might be too soon to tell, it is likely that we will have some retrofit structure necessary to our boat and throughout the AC40’s fleet. But we will understand this further in the coming days.”

The AC40 was towed back to base on its foils after the incident and is back in the shed being assessed for the repair job ahead.

Watch an animated recreation of the incident.

Late In August 2022, America’s Cup team Alinghi Red Bull Racing capsized its AC75 Boat Zero after its first sail in Barcelona. The AC75 Boat Zero was hit by a violent rain squall, which developed over the city of Barcelona.

One response to “WATCH: Emirates Team New Zealand AC40 nose-dives, causing bow damage”

  1. Robert Hansen says:

    That’s what you get for buying cheap Chinese boats after years of telling us all that supporting team NZ and winning the cup would bring millions of dollars of work to the NZ marine industry. Team Emirates turned their back on NZ and should no longer be called Team NZ.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

Skip to content