America's Cup: Young Harken Matchracers check out the AC45

The youth sailors get their first look up close - AC45 - 14 February 2011

Forty young sailors competing in the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Harken Youth International Match Racing Championship in Auckland took a slight detour Monday on their way to the racecourse, to watch the launch of the AC45.

Race officials towed the eight young teams in their Elliot 7’s to the ACRM base, where ACRM’s Director of On Water Operations Harold Bennet showed them around the AC45 and answered the many questions that came his way.

Watching the wingsail lowered in place - AC45 - 14 February 2011

'Imagine launching a boat like this every day,' commented one young Aussie sailor, which was quickly followed by, 'Imagine crashing it,' from her crew as the boat was hoisted into the air.

We were not sure who was more excited to watch the 45 swing overhead – the sailors or the RNZYS Race Committee? The adults and youth alike were in no rush to get back out to their own racing and happily watched the final preparation stages before the boat’s departure.

Watching the launch - AC45 - 14 February 2011

Local sailor David Hazard, who is currently leading the match racing with an 11-3 record, was lucky enough to have a little bit of inside knowledge on the boat after he spent his summer holidays helping out at the Core boatbuilding facility in Warkworth, where the AC45 was constructed.

'It’s pretty exciting to see some fast multi-hulls coming to the Cup, obviously a bit different to the old ones and a lot faster,' he said.

Harold Bennett briefs the youth sailors - AC45 14 February 2011

'They look like they are going to be heaps faster. I think the tactics will be completely different in the match racing so it will be interesting to see how they are in the pre-starts,' commented Jordan Reece of the Royal Sydney Yacht Club.

After chatting with a few of the sailors this morning one thing is clear: as long as the boats are fast and manoeuvrable, the kids will be happy.

Young admirers look on - AC45 - 14 February 2011

40 Youth sailors from the Harken sereis pose with the AC45 - 14 February 2011

Young admirers look on - AC45 - 14 February 2011

Young admirers look on - AC45 - 14 February 2011

Harold Bennett renews some acquaintances - AC45 - 14 February 2011

Young admirers look on - AC45 - 14 February 2011

Cast-off - AC45 - 14 February 2011