America's Cup: AC45 suffers wing damage in high winds

AC45 trials in winds gusting to 35kts - Anniversary day - Round Rangitoto Island

There were heavy conditions on the Hauraki Gulf on Monday and many of the city’s boating community were out on the water for the Oceanbridge Anniversary Day Regatta, an annual tradition that dates back to 1840 - older than the America's Cup itself.

Given the opportunity to push the limits, the AC45 test crew put the boat through its paces in the strongest breeze to date.

'It was big breeze today – a good day for us,' said Matt Mason. 'We pressed the boat as hard as we have so a real good test for it.

'We put the bow in a couple of times at 30 knots and loaded everything up. We were on our toes the whole time and it was great for the boat and the crew to come out of it relatively unscathed.'

30/01/2011 - Auckland (NZL) - 34th America's Cup - AC45 sea trial n° 8 - Anniversary day - Round Rangitoto Island

The boat received some minor damage to the trailing edge of the wing in the first gybe of the day out of the Viaduct Harbour but nothing to get in the way of a 30-mile sail in up to 30 knots as the crew opted for a circumnavigation of the iconic Rangitoto Island.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill said sailing in 25-30 knots of wind speed was, 'a hell of a test for the boat. We were right on the edge.'

ACRM boat captain Troy Tindill was happy to see the shore support crew handle the craning out of the boat in 30 knots. 'It was good to know we can manage the boat at these upper limits.'