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Auckland AC40 tow test a success
Tow vessel for the AC40 tests was the Emirates Team New Zealand hydrogen-powered foiling chase boat ‘Chase Zero’
The first of the America’s Cup’s AC40 one-design foiling monohulls has been out on the water for the first time in Auckland today as Emirates Team New Zealand continued its detailed commissioning process with some controlled tow testing to check the boat’s sensors, foil trim and performance targets.
The first of the AC40 Class boats – which will be used for the Women and Youth America’s Cup’s – was christened by Emirates Team New Zealand designer Elise Beavis at the team’s new base on Wynyard Point before being launched and towed out to Auckland’s upper harbour by the team’s hydrogen powered foiling chase boat, ‘Chase Zero’.
The AC40 in its one design configuration will be raced using autopilot flight control, but the commissioning involved a multi-step process that began with manual foiling and flight control before the autopilot was introduced.
Helming for the tow testing was Nathan Outteridge and Ray Davis on their respective port and starboard sides, with Nick Burridge and Sam Meech in the aero trimming seats to the aft.
“It was amazing at how well the flight control autopilot worked, right from the get-go on our tow test today.” explained Ray Davies. “It is a credit to the mechatronics team, the design group, the shore team and everyone that has been working so hard to splash the AC40.”
Nick Burridge, Emirates Team New Zealand’s operations and reliability manager said: “This was our first day out on the water in a long time, it was both a glimpse into the future and a significant step forward in where the preparations for the 37th America’s Cup event have come.
“If someone was to say last time we were on the water that we would be tow testing a completely new class of boat designed for the Women and Youth America’s Cup behind a Hydrogen powered foiling chase boat you wouldn’t have believed it, but here we are.”
The commissioning continued into the afternoon with the rig being stepped to check the rigging and sails.
Excitingly, the Auckland weather forecast looks favourable for the team to soon be able to take the AC40 for its maiden sail as they continue ticking boxes in the overall commissioning process.