Sport Sailing - America's Cup set to reveal its speed secrets

02:38  09 march  2021
02:38  09 march  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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The 36th America ’ s Cup Match Presented by Prada, in Auckland, March 2021, will feature the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand sailing against the sole challenger to emerge from the proceeding Prada Cup challenger-elimination series. State-of-the-art, high- speed 75-foot foiling monohulls will be used for the first time in Cup competition, honoring the 170-year-old competition’s legacy of technology and design In the past, the racecourses were set on the Hauraki Gulf, but for this edition, the courses will be set closer to land for greater specating and boundary-style racing.

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By Nick Mulvenney

(Reuters) - Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling believes his boat has the edge in speed over America's Cup challengers Luna Rossa in "a lot of conditions" but conceded on Tuesday that he would not be certain of that advantage until the racing started.

After a four-day delay caused by a coronavirus lockdown in Auckland, the 36th contest for the oldest trophy in international sport finally gets underway in Auckland on Wednesday with the first two races in the best-of-13 match.

Burling, who will lead the defence of the "Auld Mug" that he helped Team New Zealand win in Bermuda four years ago, said he thought the contest would "come down to that speed question".

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The America ' s Cup , which was first won in 1851 by the schooner America in a race around the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, is a design-led head-to-head competition which attracts some of the world's best sailors. Steered by skipper Peter Burling, New Zealand convincingly demonstrated their revolutionary "foiling" yacht's speed in December when they won a pre- America ' s Cup series, which included Luna Rossa as well as British and U.S. contenders. But the Italians, who are using an unusual twin-helm set -up with former America ' s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill and Italian sailing veteran

The America ’ s Cup is one of sailing ’s crown jewels, steeped in history but at the cutting edge of technology. Over the years it has seen rich sporting drama, controversy and radical ideas. This A-Z in nautical flags has more. The format is a series of head-to-head clashes, known as match racing. Chess-like strategy and an innate knowledge of sailing ’s myriad rules is as crucial as boat speed and crew work.

"That's the great unknown, right?" the Olympic champion told a news conference.

"We're really happy with how our boat's going but until we actually get to race that first race, we don't know 100%.

"I definitely think there's a lot of conditions where we do have a faster boat but there's a lot of conditions where Luna Rossa has proved to be strong."

One of the areas where the Italian challengers were perceived to have an edge was in light winds and Burling said Team New Zealand had made "some pretty big strides forward" in that department since they last raced in December.

"I really think that's an area we've improved on in the last couple of months, it's been a pretty good area of development for us," he added.

While Team New Zealand have been limited to training this year, Luna Rossa have been race-hardened in the challenger series which earned them the right to have a crack at the title.

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America ’ s Cup Team NZ reveal their new boat | WordlessTech. America ' s Cup Rialto: Images from Practice Day 1 - Emirates Team NZ. Sail -World was on the water for the first day of practice for the Emirates Team New Zealand pioneers a new, more aerodynamic system for sailing . Their secret ?

Whilst recent America ' s Cup multihulls have benefitted from the power and control of rigid wing sails , there has been no transfer of this technology to the rigs of other sailing classes. In tandem with the innovations of the foiling system, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are The AC75 will foil-tack and foil-gybe with only small manoeuvring losses, and given the speed and the ease at which the boats can turn the classic pre-starts of the America ' s Cup are set to make an exciting comeback. Sail handling will also become important, with cross-overs to code zero sails in light wind conditions.

Skipper Max Sirena has been racing against Team New Zealand since he was a mid bowman on the Prada Challenge in the 30th America's Cup in Auckland in 2000 but has never beaten them.

The Italian, though, said he felt "more confident" than he ever had that the challengers would be able to turn the tables this time.

"We've got nothing to lose, we can only win," the Italian said.

"We race against the defender, we race against a team which has proved to be one of the best in the world for the last 35 years.

"We know they're going to be fast, we know they're going to be hard to beat, but this is sport."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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