Team NZ trialling their new America’s Cup boat Te Rehutai on the Waitemata Harbour. Photo / Photosport
Team New Zealand are in a race against the clock to get race-ready as the America’s Cup World Series and Christmas Cup regatta loom.
The Kiwi’s launched their second generation Te Rehutai on Thursday, weeks after American Magic, INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa began testing on the water.
The delayed launch means Team NZ have under a month to prepare before they go head-to-head with their opponents – something helmsman Peter Burling admitted would be a challenge.
“There’s been a lot of hard work and thought gone into this boat for a lot of people over a pretty long period of time, to finally have it out there on the water and to be doing what we thought it should be doing is definitely pretty exciting,” Burling told NZME.
“But there’s a period now when we’re just getting into knuckling down and getting through the list of developments to get it ready to race in under four weeks is something that’s going to be a good challenge.”
Team New Zealand’s new boat shares similar features with INEOS Team UK such as a pronounced longitudinal keel, while the boat’s hull has a distinct concave shape – fairly different from the fuller shape of the first Team NZ boat Te Aihe.
Burling said they hadn’t paid much attention to how their boat compared to other teams.
“We feel we’re very much trying to race ourselves and it’s always hard to tell exactly where the other challengers are at. We’re just trying to make sure we put our best foot forward and develop the boat as good as we can and figure out how to sail it as quickly as we can so we can keep pushing those boundaries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Burling has been announced as the 2020 winner of the prestigious Magnus Olsson Prize, which is awarded annually to an individual who has “made an indelible contribution to the world of sailing”.
Burling, who becomes the youngest winner of the prize, said it’s a special honour to be recognised among previous recipients such as Torben Grael, Sir Ben Ainslie, Stan Honey, and Grant Dalton.
“It’s an honour to receive an award like this, I don’t have a lot of time to worry about these things but it’s always a really cool honour to be acknowledged in this sort of way,” he said.
“They’re definitely some pretty cool past recipients, I wasn’t lucky enough to know Magnus, he was a little bit before my time, but the legacy left behind him in ocean racing is incredible and to be honoured on a list of such an amazing group of sailors is something I’m proud of.”
Burling will receive the Magnus Olsson Prize via a virtual prize-giving event later this week.