Team NZ gets pedal power on board

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - DUN­CAN JOHN­STONE

Team New Zealand helms­man Peter Burl­ing says there’s more to their rad­i­cal Amer­ica’s Cup boat than meets the eye in terms of per­for­mance.

The syn­di­cate’s de­ci­sion to go for pedal power to pro­vide the en­ergy for their con­trol sys­tems and wing­sail and foils has grabbed all the at­ten­tion since New Zealand Aotearoa hit the wa­ter last week.

The four cy­cle pedestals in each hull of the 50-foot cata­ma­ran, re­plac­ing tra­di­tional arm­pow­ered grind­ing sta­tions, have their ri­vals in a spin.

The big se­cret is out but it’s what can’t be seen that may be just as vi­tal to Team New Zealand’s chances of win­ning back the Auld Mug in Ber­muda where rac­ing for the 35th edi­tion of yacht­ing’s most fa­mous tro­phy starts on May 26. With spies about, Team New Zealand are keep­ing the de­tail of their rev­o­lu­tion­ary boat un­der wraps as they set about a cru­cial test­ing pe­riod on Auck­land’s Waitem­ata Har­bour over the next month.

‘‘We’re pretty happy,’’ the un­der­stated Burl­ing said of the new toy and its ini­tial per­for­mances on the wa­ter. ‘‘There are def­i­nitely a lot of things on that boat apart from the ob­vi­ous one that every­one is ask­ing ques­tions about that are pretty in­no­va­tive and unique.

With so much in­ter­nal ex­pec­ta­tion as the build­ing process was com­pleted, Burl­ing said it was very sat­is­fy­ing to see the the­o­ries pan out un­der the pres­sures of ini­tial per­for­mance.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing is pretty close to ex­pected,’’ Burl­ing, the Olympic 49er gold medal­list from Rio said as he took charge of the wheel. ‘‘It’s a cool beast to sail and def­i­nitely a step up from our test boat in a lot of re­gards.

‘‘We have a few more bits and pieces go­ing on, we have sim­pli­fied a few things, it’s all work­ing re­ally well.’’ But he em­pha­sised this was just the start of the real game for the sail­ing team af­ter three years of de­sign, test­ing and con­struc­tion.

Burl­ing reck­ons he has ‘‘got off pretty lightly’’ in terms of the new cy­cling skills that his crew have had to get up to speed with as well as work on their sail­ing tech­niques for the high-pow­ered beast.

‘‘It’s pretty amaz­ing see­ing how fit and strong the guys are get­ting and how much they are en­joy­ing the chal­lenge to some­thing quite dif­fer­ent and putting out some se­ri­ous power.’’


Team New Zealand train­ing on their new Amer­ica’s Cup boat for Ber­muda.

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