The defenders’ team in the America and New Zealand Cup won a title The first official practice on the new AC75 boats En route on Tuesday though British competitors were early casualties.
Regatta director Ian Murray called the session Tuesday afternoon in fresh northwesterly winds with the New Zealand team advancing first at 3.10pm, with the starting zone having three training sessions.
Teams are officially allowed to engage the opposition for the first time with the Round E area, located off Bucklands shore, that has been selected for a historic moment.
Kiwis had the New York Yacht Club American Magic with them for a series of starting routines, and invaluable training for one of the key areas in racing coordination.
Getting off the line neatly and precisely would be vital, given the high speeds of these 75-foot monolithic balls.
American Magic has had one anxious moment when the AC75 Patriot dubs through a tight bend. In general, they seemed comfortable with their maneuvers, which is testament that they spent most of the time in second-generation boats, although the Americans may have shown they had a speed issue.
American Magic, Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK had starting area rights in a three-hour session scheduled to end at around 6pm, although the British Syndicate was experiencing some unspecified issues.
They return to their base just after 5 p.m. which is their allotted time on their training start line.
It was a blow to Sir Ben Ainsley’s team who had a Britannia II on so many days over the past month amid whispers of trouble with the new boat.
This was a missed opportunity and there are no more opportunities to test crew and equipment in real racing situations before the real competition.
Defenders and Challengers got a chance to practice some of their routine races in Auckland.
There were no races as such, although the teams were able to take turns in the course and had the first opportunity to get some real data from their opponents’ boats.
Kiwis regularly showed good altitude and flight speed in winds of 10-18 knots, was hauled in American Magic in one stage and worked at close range with arch-rival Luna Rossa who looked great downwind.
But dealing with comparative performance at this early stage remains difficult as teams are still trying different equipment.
Aside from the British, the teams will have gained confidence from their first low-profile hit. All their moments in exchanges around the starting area.
Murray decided to use Course E, better known as “The Paddock,” due to its relative isolation, in order to avoid a large spectator fleet.
The teams were using the day as a shorthand for a regular day’s race as a busy schedule loomed over the next three months.
They left their Oakland base after 1pm to head out into the stadium area and were doing their warm-ups before being called into the starting area.
Much of the session was about Murray and the race officials testing their racing systems as well as giving TV broadcasters a chance to work through their complex systems.
There will be another training session on Thursday afternoon.
Training races are scheduled to take place on the next Friday, Monday and Tuesday before the first official race that begins Thursday, December 17, the opening day of the four-day World Series and the Christmas Cup race.