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Team NZ conclude Hauraki Gulf testing

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/03/2017

Three weeks sailing in the Hauraki Gulf has given Team New Zealand the perfect opportunity for fine-tuning their America's Cup preparations, skipper Glenn Ashby believes.

The Kiwi catamaran has lowered its bold red wing sail on home waters for the final time, with the focus now shifting to disassembly and packaging for its flight to Bermuda.

Ashby said sailing conditions had been ideal for testing the race boat, New Zealand Aotearoa, which was christened six weeks ago.

"The conditions have almost been more 'Bermuda-like' than in Bermuda," Ashby said.

"We have probably been the team that has had the chance to sail more days on their America's Cup class catamaran than anyone to date as the weather at this time of year in Auckland is perfect for sailing."

Helmsman Peter Burling said the team had been constantly learning and readjusting during that time on the water.

"Every day we have learnt new things, and the more the time went by the more we realised how many opportunities we still had for improvement, exploring and testing."

Feedback from the sailors during a training session had been crucial, he added.

"It's even more important in full foiling catamarans, where each parameter is taken to the extreme."

Chief executive Grant Dalton said Team NZ had made huge progress in the past year since its late campaign start.

"We have been watched very closely by the Oracle SoftBank spies every minute we have been on the water, and their vigilance makes me think we built a very good racing machine.

"We could keep improving and developing the boat indefinitely, but we have got to go racing at some stage, and now is that time."

The Louis Vuitton America's Cup qualifiers begin on May 27, with Team New Zealand's first race against Groupama Team France.

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