The Defender of the 36th America's Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand, has launched its second AC75 foiling monohull Te Rehutai.
Launched at a ceremony at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour, Te Rehutai is the last of the second generation AC75s to be launched across the competing teams of the upcoming America's Cup.
Emirates Team New Zealand will put Te Rehutai through its paces at PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland, which begins on December 17.
During the launch ceremony, which was attended by almost 900 supporters, the boat was blessed by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
Emirates Team New Zealand chief operating officer, Kevin Shoebridge, described the launch as "a huge feat" considering the team "lost five weeks of build time" during the first coronavirus lockdown.
"That is an extraordinary effort, which we haven’t ever experienced before as a team. I can’t speak highly enough of the skill and determination that the team at our build facility have shown under exceptionally challenging circumstances for not only them but our suppliers, sponsors and everyone that has contributed. ”
Dan Bernasconi added: "Te Rehutai is designed to excel in both domains - the water and the air - and we're confident she'll be competitive across the range of wind-speeds we may see in the America's Cup."
Te Rehutai follows the launch of the 23-metre model Te Aihe, meaning 'dolphin'.
Unlike other Challengers, Emirates Team New Zealand developed its first boat with an in-house simulator, while others have opted for smaller scale prototypes to test their concept on the water. The earlier Te Aihe was tested in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, where the final fleet of five boats will be competing in March 2021.
While the new generation of AC75s are bigger and faster than the catamarans used for the previous two America’s Cups, they will be “inherently safer”, says Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby . “As with any new boat it is all about slowly getting it up to speed, learning how to sail it most efficiently, pushing the development of the designs and then putting in the hours in getting ready to race.”
The five challengers who will meet for the 2021 America's Cup in March are; Emirates Team New Zealand, Stars and Stripes Team USA, American Magic (US), Ineos Team UK (GB), and Luna Rossa (Italy). The Malta Royal Yacht Club and The Royal Netherlands Yacht Club were accepted as challengers by have since withdrawn.