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Te Rehutai signs off in style in Barcelona
Emirates Team New Zealand’s America’s-Cup-winning boat Te Rehutai may well have sailed for the last time as the Defender focuses in on the development of its third generation AC75
Emirates Team New Zealand’s intense 4 month sailing block in Barcelona has wound up with the America’s-Cup-winning boat Te Rehutai signing off its scheduled sailing and testing program for the 37th America’s Cup.
A moment of reflection for the team as all focus starts turning towards ‘boat three’ which is currently in construction in New Zealand and will be used to defend the America’s Cup in Barcelona in just under one year’s time.
The team were reflective on what has been achieved with Te Rehutai since its launch in November 2020, where it was commissioned and then developed into the 36th America’s Cup winning boat in March 2021 before transitioning into a highly effective ‘workhorse’ and development tool for the 37th America’s Cup testing program.
“Te Rehutai has been amazing to us; we have really put her through the paces.” Explains Emirates Team New Zealand Coach Ray Davies. “A couple of years ago, people wouldn't have thought what we are now doing was doable in foiling boats, but now we're sailing around in two metre swells in Barcelona. It's really, awesome.”
Skipper Peter Burling has been on the helm of Te Rehutai every day since its launch and was sentimental on the final day sailing.
“You know, never say never, but it'll probably be the last time we ever sail Te Rehutai. It's been an amazing tool for us this campaign to help see things in full scale. The last couple of days we've found things incredibly challenging on board but have really enjoyed the time out there sailing and trying to figure out how to get around the course on those kind of sea states.”
Sea states that the team were eager to test itself in, as the weather conditions coincided with the window of the America’s Cup match in October next year and could easily be those which the 37th America’s Cup could be decided in.
“The last two days have been unbelievably epic actually,” said trimmer Blair Tuke. “Good conditions to push us as a crew and Te Rehutai stood up to the challenge once again. The team's stepped on a long way since the last campaign already, so it's an exciting year we've got ahead of us.”
Thoughts reflected by Shore Crew Manager Sean Regan, “She's now done so many more sailing days beyond what our expectations were and given us such an amazing platform to build on for our boat three design. In our campaign it's a critical point. We're going to get excited about our new boat and see where that takes us.”
As the seasons change in Barcelona, from a long Mediterranean summer to shorter winter days, Te Rehutai will remain in Barcelona while the wider team is now heading back to springtime in Auckland to maximise its time on the water with its AC40 testing and development program before heading to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for the second Preliminary Regatta, in one month’s time.
The construction team are working around the clock to hit their deadlines for the launch of ‘boat three’ in 2024.
The last word for Emirates Team New Zealand COO Kevin Shoebridge:
“Our sailing block has come to an end here in Barcelona before we start sailing again next year here. We'll leave Te Rehutai here in Barcelona, you never know. But it has been an absolute workhorse for us, we have had some great sailing on that boat, some great results but it is time to move on.”
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