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America's Cup: Kiwis pull a couple of rabbits out of the hat ahead of the Match

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 3 Mar 08:27 GMT 3 March 2021
A couple of crew cross Emirates Team New Zealand just after a gybe - Training - Prada Cup Finals - Day 4 - February 21, 2021 - America's Cup 36 - Course A © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com / nz

Emirates Team New Zealand have been spotted out training with a couple of new moves - for the Kiwi team, at least.

This afternoon off Auckland's North Shore they were shot doing circuits apparently without the crews changing sides in tacks and gybes. In the video by Gilles Martin-Raget it is not clear who was handling the co-helming role with Peter Burling with a choice of Glenn Ashby or Blair Tuke. The trick is not new, with Luna Rossa having sailed in this mode since their launch - it didn't really work until the two co-helmsmen interacted more with the other crew members - which was a take-out from the Round Robin Series of the Prada Cup.

The Kiwis ran the move in the 2017 America's Cup - with the "no-look" gybe where the AC50 was flicked through a gybe without anyone changing sides ahead of the move - which otherwise signalled the move to their competitor.

The Kiwis have also come up with a variation on the Code Zero which appears to be more a light weight jib, what used to be known as a floating jib and used in very light winds. It has a slightly hollow cut foot and leech, set from the bowsprit, and can be furled without the aid of the support crew. Later in the video by Sail Chaser the AC75 is foiling with a jib and furled Code Zero. All teams have the Code Zero in their inventory but the Challengers had not been seen with it setting for some time. The standard Code Zero is flat cut with the foot close to the deck and up to maximum size on the girth measurements, and can be wound in flat and tight for maximum power. The lightweight Code Zero appears to be deployed more to get the AC75 moving and increase the apparent windflow, to get the boat up to the 12kts of boat speed which seems to be the minimum for take-off on the foils.

The crossover for the Code Zero is about 8.5kts of true windspeed - and the sail particularly effective downwind. Although the measured minimum windstrength is 6.5kts using a rolling boxcar system prescribed in the Match Conditions, in several races the breeze has dropped well below this level, but the race continues until the time limits expire for the first leg (12 minutes) and 45 minutes for a race.

In the third video by Justin Mitchell which is longer of today's session, there are crew changing sides between tacks, but at the front of the boat, as they have always done. There's a second video of Luna Rossa later in the session, handling the fresh breeze well in the same course area as Emirates Team New Zealand.

The Hauraki Gulf was swept by showers of rain and the occasional thunderstorm this afternoon, which didn't make for easy filming.

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