America's Cup - AC72's Sailing and Foiling

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AC72 - New Zealand fully lifted on her L-Foils and sailing on the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand.
Welcome to Sail-World.com's second America's Cup Newsletter for the 34th America's Cup.

Two significant milestones in the 34th America's Cup occurred in the past week.

Firstly Emirates Team NZ managed to do a foil-borne run up the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, late last Wednesday afternoon. It was a remarkable sight - which had many in the online sailing community skeptical - however we have the images, in this edition of Sail-World's America's Cup newsletter.

The second significant event was the launch of Oracle Team USA's first AC72, in San Francisco.

That was a two stage affair, with the launch being originally scheduled to be a major media event, which was postponed. The team did a test rig of the AC72, after which the platform was christened and splashed into San Francisco Bay.

L foil and rudder foil - AC72 - First Sail - August 31, 2012 San Francisco
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She was also given a high speed tow test, which is normal for the AC72's - to test the hulls for leaks under pressure.

A day later, USA-17 as she is known had her first sail on San Francisco Bay.

The images and video that have been released reveal a very different boat from Emirates Team NZ's design. We have some close up images in this edition.

USA-17's first sail was limited to just two hours, after issues with her starboard foil. (The tip appeared to be broken from photos that were available.)

Artemis Racing unload their AC72 in San Francisco

The sailing world has been in a quandary over the images of Emirates Team NZ's foiling exploits, given the short length of time she has been sailing.

(Her second sail was also a short-lived affair, after some broken wingsail ribs were discovered.)

Certainly if this foiling phenomenon becomes the norm, and is achievable on the downwind legs of the America's Cup course in San Francisco, then we are in for some exciting developments and spectacular sailing to say the least.

Oracle Team USA show their wingsail onto the AC72, in San Francisco

For the other teams the challenge is going to be matching the New Zealand effort. There is no reason, at this stage to believe that will not be the case, however as these milestones are passed the bar becomes higher for the other competitors.

The America's Cup has always been a time management exercise - where the challenge is to have your boat ready and faster than the other teams, by the start of the regatta. That seems a little trite, but time is something which cannot be clawed back or bought in the context of the America's Cup.

Luna Rossa base in Auckland’s Westhaven Marina - facilities on Pier 30-32 are now more likely to be on this style, if left to the teams

We seem to be entering the phase where teams are becoming aware that time is short. That is underlined by the next milestone - in three days time, we will have passed another - 12 months to the start of the America's Cup Match, on September 7, 2013.

We will be publishing further America's Cup newsletters, when there is sufficient content and/or on milestone occasions - we expect this to be once a month, until the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World's America's Cup News Editor

AC72 Wing step test / ORACLE TEAM USA / San Francisco (USA) / 29-08-2012

The centre pod on USA-17 touches the water under full crew and wingsail - USA-17, AC72 - First Sail - August 31, 2012 San Francisco
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Emirates Team New Zealand sailing the AC72 on the Hauraki Gulf on the second day of sailing. A bang brings an end to sailing as a part in the wing gives way.Richard Meacham goes aloft to check the damage and take some photos for the designers. 3/8/2012

Emirates Team NZ AC72 sailing at speed in Auckland, on her fourth sailing day