America’s Cup: Emirates Team New Zealand raises the bar

34th America’s Cup:Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robin Race - Emirates Team New Zealand Vs Artemis Racing
At the America’s Cup Challenger Series, Emirates Team New Zealand has been the class act of the Louis Vuitton Cup and today the Kiwis set a new top speed for the AC72s while getting one point closer to a free pass into the final round.

Shortly after starting, skipper Dean Barker and the Kiwi crew recorded a top speed of 44.15 knots – 50.8 mph/81.7 kph/74.5 feet per second on the first reach leg. The windspeed on the leg peaked at 15.8 knots. The team’s previous record was 43.26 knots, set on July 9th in slightly stronger winds.

'By far this is the coolest, most fun boat I’ve ever sailed on, there’s no doubt about that,' said Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby, who watched today’s race from the chase boat.

Mr. Fan owner of Swan 60 Windward at the helm, as Team China approach the finish line of their inaugural Nord Stream Race. - Nord Stream Race 2014

'Doing 40-plus knots reaching and downwind and low-to-mid 20 knots upwind, there’s no other boat as a sailor that you’d ever wish to sail on at that moment. The boats are getting faster and faster. Every month, we’re getting quicker. If we had another six or eight months of development we’d probably get another three to four knots quicker. The feeling sailing downwind is surreal, covering ground that quickly,' Ashby said.

Emirates Team New Zealand notched its fifth point of the series in five starts, four of which have been unopposed, yet the team has remained focused on the racecourse.

Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2014. No Star's Michael Coxon driving the boat while Richie Allanson and Iain Murray called the tactics. - Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2014
Teri Dodds

'It’s good to keep mixing it up, good to have the pressure of time lines and race starts to make sure our reliability is there,' said Adam Beashel. 'Beasho' has been the bowman through the first few races but today moved back to wing trim, giving Ashby a break.

'Practicing maneuvers is invaluable,' said Beashel. 'There’ll be a lot of that in the business end of the deal (the America’s Cup Final), so our maneuvers have to be up to scratch.'

Before Emirates Team New Zealand raced, defender Oracle team USA had exclusive use of the racecourse for 45 minutes. Oracle team USA had its two AC72s out, with skipper Jimmy Spithill and after guard member Ben Ainslie at the helms.

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Jiang Yongtao/Volvo Ocean Race

'We managed to get a good hour on the racecourse. It was valuable time before the challengers started racing in the afternoon. We had a few races, good training,' said Kyle Langford, Oracle team USA wing trimmer. 'The AC72s are awesome to sail, nothing compares. They’re one-of-a-kind, pushing the limits of what boats and sailing can do.'

About today’s race:
Emirates Team New Zealand sailed the five-leg America’s Cup course
Course length: 9.32 nautical miles
Elapsed time: 23 minutes, 1 second
Total distance sailed: 10.97 nautical miles
Average speed: 28.1 knots (32 mph)
Top speed: 44.15 knots (50.8 mph) on the first leg, a reach
Wind speed: average 15.5 knots; peak gust 17.4 knots

Quotes from: Richard Meacham, Emirates Team New Zealand bowman
On today’s race: 'Today we took the opportunity to keep developing both the boat and the sailing team. To that effect, we ran through some of our crew rotations. We had Adam Beashel on the wing trim to give him some time there in the event that Glenn (Ashby) can’t sail for some reason. And because of that, I took Adam’s role on the bow.'

On yesterday’s race training versus Luna Rossa Challenge: 'We had a very constructive day yesterday. It was a really good thing to do. The challenge in (unopposed race) days like today is making the most out of them. We sailed the course we were obliged to sail, and then continued our testing program to make sure we utilized the day on the water. Every day is valuable. The more time out there the better.'

The schedule ahead:
Saturday, July 20, Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Artemis Racing
Sunday, July 21, Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Luna Rossa Challenge
Tuesday, July 23, Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
Thursday, July 25, Artemis Racing vs. Luna Rossa Challenge

Americas Cup website