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America's Cup Rialto - July 28: The first hookup on the Waitemata

by Richard Gladwell/ 28 Jul 13:47 BST 29 July 2020
American Magic - Waitemata Habour - Auckland - America's Cup 36 - July 28, 2020 © Richard Gladwell /

America's Cup Rialto is a new series for the 36th America's Cup, and will publish each day an Americas's Cup boat sails - with images of the day. Usually there will be a morning report (NZT) based on when the boats have passed North Head - when there is usually the best photo opportunity. Apologies for the quality of these images - a post processing issue.

The breeze kicked in today on the Waitemata Harbour. In the easterly breeze (on shore) kicked in at 18-22kts at its peak around noon, before dropping away slightly later in the day.

Emirates Team New Zealand were in the water first, again with their test boat Te Kahu checking out at 0940hrs for what proved to be a session of just over four hours.

American Magic left their dock about an hour later for a five hour session.

The onshore breeze meant the two teams trained in the lee of the surrounding islands, in relatively water.

On the water the two teams worked to a very different regime - with the Kiwis doing various runs and manoeuvres - but of course with only four crew on the 12 metre long test boat. While they had the occasional time out, theirs was a solid sailing session - mostly conducted close to Motuihe and Browns Islands - about 5nm upwind from North Head.

American Magic had a session punctuated with long breaks as presumably the AC75 was being put into racing trim and systems recalibrated, after their five month COVID-19 induced break.

The crew sat around during the breaks indicating that they were not being called to repair damage.

The two teams ignored each other, for the first hour or so. Then Peter Burling began doing passes close to a stationary Defiant, taunting the US team to hookup.

Eventually it did happen with Te Kahu and Defiant doing a downwind leg from the eastern end to the western end of the course.

Surprisingly there was not a lot in it, and always a caveat in such encounters as to whether both boats are sailing at race-pace or if one or both are sandbagging.

Soon afterwards, Emirates Team New Zealand did a couple of smaller runs, and then dropped their sails off Tamaki YC before towing back to their base. American Magic stayed out for another couple of hours.

The forecast for Wednesday is good - similar conditions to today, Tuesday, but with the easterly breeze kicking in at over 20 kts for the rest of the week.

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