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Burling and Tuke on top of the world again.

After 5 days of racing in their home waters in Auckland Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won their fifth 49er World Championship.

A difficult week for the fleets racing at the 49er Worlds due to mixed sailing conditions and a tense last day for Peter Burling and Blair Tuke that started with a gear failure causing them to pull out of the opening race, followed by a third place in the next race.

At the start of the medal race Burling and Tuke were eight points clear, needing to finish within four places of the second placed German team also intent on winning the championship. The drama peaked when Peter Burling slipped off the back of the boat and into the water when tacking on the first upwind leg of the medal race, plunging the New Zealand pair to the back of the fleet.

The Kiwi – duo though fought their way back to finish fourth in the Medal Race and to win the gold medal by six points overall.

“It’s definitely the top, no doubt,” Tuke said when reflecting on a fifth world title. “We said going into it that racing a world champs on your home waters would be right up there with the Olympics. It feels pretty good.

“It always feels good when you do it in that fashion, when it comes down to the wire as well. We would have liked to have won by more but you take it any way you can. We’re really proud that we came back in the end there.”

“It was a bit annoying,” an understated Burling said of his swim in the medal race. “It was the same thing we did in the first race when we snapped the tiller extension. It was really choppy out there and hard to get the timing quite right.”

Tuke added: “It certainly wasn’t part of the plan. We would have ideally sailed a bit better in the morning and wrapped it up but, whichever way we get it, we’re pretty happy and we knew that if it came down to this we would be able to step up. To do it in front of our friends, family and supporters is very, very special.”

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have an intense schedule ahead as they will combine their Olympic campaign with their America’s Cup commitments.

With little time to reflect on today’s win, tomorrow they’ll be back at work with Emirates Team New Zealand sailing the teams AC75 back on the very same waters of their latest world beating accomplishment.

maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.

maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Safety Training.

Preparation is paramount when sailing any vessel, but when pushing the boundaries of innovation and speed in an America’s Cup Class boat, it takes on an additional level of importance to ensure the wellbeing of all crew and the boat itself.

For the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing and on water support team the safety procedures are an evolving process of constant improvement and adaption to minimise risk and damage from everything between a worst-case scenario and an untimely nose dive which buries the boat in white water before lifting off to take flight again and carry on its way.

Unexpected events on the water can come from a number of areas, be it human error while learning to optimise sailing technique, to gear breakage, or urgent action as can happen from time to time, but what the crew of Emirates Team New Zealand have been learning is the AC75’s are inherently forgiving with the odd mishap, but nevertheless always require everyone to be well and truly on their toes to get the maximum out of the boat on the water.

“Some incidents look far worse from off the AC75 than they are onboard,” said Chris Salthouse who is the head of on water operations for the team.

“There have been one or two moments witnessed that to the outsider seem like a major incident, but the guys on board just take it in their stride and carry on sailing. We are in constant verbal communication from the chase boat with the crew on the boat and with the data stream coming off we can see when things are on the edge or entirely under control. But none of this stops anyone on the water dropping their shoulders for a second.”

Prior to even launching ‘Te Aihe’ the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team ran through a comprehensive water safety course lead by grinder and former Surf Life Saver Steven Ferguson.

“It may seem simple, but the lessons you learn and the little bits of information you gather simply by running through processes and discussion when bobbing around a freezing cold pool are invaluable.

It’s never something that is very comfortable for anyone thinking about and preparing for the worst, but it is vitally important that we do this as a group and acknowledge the risks, maximise the safety and minimise the impact on the sailors and the boat itself.”

“In the case of a capsize the first thing to do is quickly and accurately assess the situation.” Said Ray Davies.

“We run a buddy and numbering system with each of us onboard the boat, as well as a signal system to communicate with the chase boat and first response team so everyone can prioritise who is OK and who needs help first.

“We are certainly taking our safety seriously. All the boys get in the pool to see what it’s like with all the sailing kit on, to see how the buoyancy feels and to get comfortable using the spare air oxygen bottles if needed under the water.

With all the precautions the team takes, it is always important to be ready to adapt, because it is rare that things play out as expected.

“All of our guys are generally very comfortable in the water, but the more time you spend doing something that’s not normal for you is important.” said Blair Tuke. “But it’s key to get together, and put ourselves through a couple of scenarios, that first response stuff in case we do have a big wipe out.”

But at the end of the day, this is sailing and we are no different to offshore or Olympic sailors, or even your average bloke fishing from his boat on the Hauraki Gulf, everyone should take safety at sea and all necessary precautions seriously to get the most amount of enjoyment out of what they are doing.


maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.

America’s Cup look forward to the 36th edition.

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, and the Defender and Challenger of Record of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada have reached agreement for the next edition of the America’s Cup.

The agreement was signed at the World Sailing Annual Conference in Bermuda, where Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron won the 35th edition in emphatic fashion.

Signing the agreement, World Sailing President Kim Andersen said, “As one of the pinnacle events within the sport, it is vital that World Sailing and the Defender and Challenger of Record work collaboratively to ensure a fair competition on the water.

“We have worked closely with Grant Dalton and Laurent Esquier on this agreement which will ensure the America’s Cup is delivered to the high standard the sailing community has come to expect. We look forward to continuing and strengthening our relationship with both the Defender and Challenger to ensure a memorable competition for fans of our sport.”

The agreement sees the America’s Cup re-established as a member of World Sailing’s family of Special Events. World Sailing will continue its role in ensuring the fairness and integrity of the America’s Cup through the appointment of Race Officials, the approval of the specialist Racing Rules of Sailing (America’s Cup Edition) and management of the anti-doping programme.

World Sailing, the Defender and Challenger of Record will also work together on implementing sustainability programmes throughout the Cup, Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series and other preliminary events. The organisations will also work closely together on promoting and enhancing the media coverage of the sport globally.

Commenting on the continuing partnership between World Sailing and the Defender, Grant Dalton, CEO of America’s Cup Events said, “For a sailing event of the magnitude of the America’s Cup, there is no end of detail which needs to be organised.

“But one of the most important foundations is to work with World Sailing to put in place the sanctioning agreement to help govern the rules on the water, which we are pleased to have now achieved with them.

“The agreement and terms are in line with previous America’s Cup cycles and we are looking forward to maintaining the long standing and valued relationship with World Sailing.”

Laurent Esquier, CEO of Challenger of Record 36 – the organisation responsible for organising the America’s Cup World Series, Christmas Race, and the Prada Cup Challenger Series – thanked the World Sailing President for making the sanctioning agreement possible.

“This agreement is a significant milestone in this 36th cycle of the America’s Cup and we are grateful for Kim Andersen’s unwavering support in bringing it to fruition,” Esquier said.

“As a World Sailing Special Event we have access to a vast pool of experience and expertise within the World Sailing organisation. We look forward to working closely with Kim and his team to deliver exciting world class competition at all the events in this 36th America’s Cup cycle.”

As part of the agreement, World Sailing has confirmed the appointment of Richard Slater (AUS) as the Chief Umpire of the 36th America’s Cup. Slater continues this role from the 35th America’s Cup and will lead a team of World Sailing International Umpires, afloat and ashore, throughout the next two years as the Cup implements electronic officiating and the well-established High Speed rules edition of the Racing Rules of Sailing.


maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.


maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.


Main picture:  July 06, 2017 –  Emirates Team New Zealand at the America’s Cup Victory Parade in Auckland City. © Richard Hodder.


maxon motor inside Emirates Team New Zealand, Te Aihe.

The America’s Cup is as much a design race as it is a sailing race. Racing through the unpredictable waters and weather elements requires not only skill from the sailors but reliability from the state of the art technology inside the AC75 yachts.

On a sunny October day we were given access to the workshop and a behind the scenes tour of the Auckland base by Luke McAllum, Mechanical Engineer with Emirates Team New Zealand. Luke explained some of the mechanics of the boat and gave a sneak peek of the boat pre-launch, while it was getting its mast stepped.

For about the past year, Luke has been liaising with Brett Motum, maxon motor Australia Managing Director, as part of the team designing the AC75 Class yacht. maxon are an Official Supplier of DC motors and provide drive systems advice. The America’s Cup AC75 Class Rule allows the use of electric motors to operate hydraulic valves, drive clutches, rudders and foils. Teams may also use motors for driving simulator platforms and numerous test jigs.

“The America’s Cup is as much a design race as it is a sailing race. Innovation & technology is at the forefront of every team’s priorities” said Luke.

The base, situated on the foreshore of Auckland’s harbour, has been a hive of activity. “We are still one and a half year’s out from the Cup. But every team is flat out with design and development” said Luke.

Taking a look at Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC75 yacht, Te Aihe, it is 75 ft long and weighs around 6.5 tonne. There are two foil arms on the boat, with a foil wing on the bottom of the arm. Each foil arm moves through 120 degrees articulation and the foils have a wing span of approximately 4 metres. On each foil wing, there is a foil flap, that the sailing crew control to fly the boat.

When the boat is in the dock, it’s in dock configuration which means both the foil arms are down at 0 degrees giving maximum stability. When the boat is in sailing mode, the leeward foil arm goes up about 60 degrees which puts the foil wing horizontal and the windward foil arm goes up about 120 degrees which lifts it fully clear of the water. This allows the crew to fly the boat using the controls inside the cockpit. The foiling control system is of course top secret.

When the team perform a manoeuvre they drop the windward foil wing down and lift up the leeward foil arm. Both of these maneuverers take about 3 seconds each. The foil arms weigh 1.2 tonne each and the crew are lifting these from 60 to 120 degrees, or the equivalent of 3 metres in vertical height, all in about 3 seconds. The configuration is designed to give maximum stability to the yacht throughout the manoeuvres.

While in dock the team perform dock commissioning checks before the boat is in the sailing environment ensuring all system functionalities are checked.

maxon inside Ti Aihe

We are shown one of the containerised workshops, where the design & engineering team have been working with Brett Motum and his team at maxon motor Australia. “The service that they have provided has been absolutely fantastic” said Luke. The maxon 480 W DC motor combined with a 42mm gearbox, driven by an EPOS motor controller is one of the DC motor combinations the Team have been excited to work with.

Luke said “What we really like about this motor is the size and the power it provides for how compact it is.” While Luke would like to tell us more about the DC motors, the rest is classified information.

“The America’s Cup is all about the small details and getting that small edge over our competitors. We’d like to thank maxon very much for the support they have provided. We’re looking forward to the future and the exciting development of their products on the race yacht.” said Luke.

maxon motor Australia Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.


maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.

Spark 5G helping the boat go faster.

Real time data from race boat to chase boat – Spark announces next step with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Spark New Zealand today announced that it is now trialling a 5G service on the water for Emirates Team New Zealand, delivering on their promise to help make the boat go faster in the bid to defend the next America’s Cup.

The 5G service covers parts of Auckland Harbour, off Milford and Takapuna, where Emirates Team New Zealand do some of their test sailing. The reduced latency and higher bandwidth of 5G means Emirates Team New Zealand can now livestream data and video back to engineers and designers at the base straight off the new AC75 boat, Te Aihe while it’s sailing. Real time access to the data gives Emirates Team New Zealand a design advantage in preparing for the America’s Cup racing.

The trial service is an extension of Spark’s existing 5G Lab in Wynyard Quarter in downtown Auckland, and uses test spectrum on loan from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). As part of the trial, Spark installed a 5G service at the Emirates Team New Zealand base in Auckland in July and has supplied 5G handsets to the team.

Dan Bernasconi, Head of Design for Emirates Team New Zealand said that the 5G service is a game changer for the team.

“There’s a huge amount of innovation in the design and build of the AC75. The boat is a completely new concept so we need to be able to push the potential of this boat to its extreme in testing.

“Before the team had access to 5G they had to get a hard disk with all the data off the sailing boat, then the chase boat took it back to the base, and a team member would run the hard disk up to the data server at the base. Design work using the data couldn’t happen until well after the boat had docked.

“Now we have 5G on the water, there are hundreds of real time data streams such as boat speed, ride height, and hydraulic pressure coming off the water and back to our design team at the base. Our team can do progressive design and development work during the day while the boat is sailing allowing our design-thinking to evolve much faster. We were never able to do this before 5G.

“The timing for us is perfect as we head into the busy period of testing on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf over the spring and summer months. We’ve got the advantage of time for testing on the race area and the advantage of trialling 5G for our data analysis ahead of the America’s Cup in March 2021.

“The America’s Cup is as much a technology race as a yacht race. We know that in order to win the Cup we need to win the innovation race. Using 5G allows us to explore more design options and buys us one of the most precious commodities in the America’s Cup – time.”

Jolie Hodson, CEO of Spark is delighted to have 5G live on the water for Emirates Team New Zealand.

“Getting 5G to trial live on the water for Emirates Team New Zealand is delivering what we said we’d do when we opened the Spark 5G lab last year – helping to make their boat go faster.”

“Looking ahead to the America’s Cup in 2021, we see huge opportunities to use the Spark5G service to innovate with Emirates Team New Zealand and to support the connectivity required for the America’s Cup village. It’s an international showcase opportunity for many of the advances that will be enabled by 5G.

“Our work with Emirates Team New Zealand is the next chapter in our Spark 5G story and will provide valuable data to support the eventual rollout of 5G to New Zealand.”

Hodson added that the team’s use of 5G demonstrates the difference it will make to New Zealand businesses, with the ability to transmit data at speed and with precision to improve performance, to help them grow and compete against the best in the world.

“The potential of 5G goes far beyond high speed wireless broadband connections and mobile phones. Many industries and businesses in New Zealand will have their own ideas on what their transformative technology could be enabled by 5G. We want to encourage businesses to begin thinking about how they can prepare for the future of Spark 5G.”

This 5G trial is a private service that is only available to Emirates Team New Zealand and is isolated from the rest of Spark’s network. It is delivered using Huawei equipment.


maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.

Roger Frigola from Emirates Team New Zealand inspires maxon.

Roger Frigola, Optimisation Engineer at Emirates Team New Zealand, presented to the maxon global Group at their annual management meeting in Brunnen, Switzerland on the 18 September, 2019.

maxon Group were delighted to welcome Roger Frigola (MSc Aerospace Engineering and PhD Artificial Intelligence) from Emirates Team New Zealand at their annual management meeting. In their capacity as Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand, maxon Group received insight into the process and technicalities of designing the AC75 Class yacht. For the current America’s Cup campaign, the design process began in 2018 with the publication of the Class Rule that states specific design parameters set out by the Deed of Gift. Roger has been involved in the America’s Cup since 2014 and has experience in the McLaren F1, Ferrari F1, Porsche Le Mans and Red Bull F1 Motorsports.

Emirates Team New Zealand: Current Defenders of the America’s Cup

The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest trophy in international sport, captivating the world since its inception in 1851. Emirates Team New Zealand are three times winner, current Defenders of the America’s Cup and the first non-American competitor to successfully defend the trophy. It would appear to remain that if you won the America’s Cup you would stay with the same type of boat. This isn’t the case for Emirates Team New Zealand, who created a New Class of Yacht – the AC75. Innovation is key and the entire concept was proven only through use of a simulator without any prototypes. The Challengers have developed smaller boats and tested them, but Emirates Team New Zealand placed their trust in the simulation and the team of people working behind the scenes.

For the new AC75 Class of Yacht, Emirates Team New Zealand designed the system that all the teams use to raise and lower the foils. The Design & Engineering Team also work with HP using 3-D printed components for the Yacht.

The team

A support team of more than 150 people contribute expertise from across many disciplines. There is the crew of 11 sailors (8 of those are grinders) and around 25 people within the design and engineering team including naval architects, structural and mechanical engineers, simulators and software developers. Then there is the shore people, boat builders, marketing, media, lawyers, accounting, physiotherapists, trainers and cooks.

AC36: a new rule

One method of gathering data for the performance of the Yacht and the Sailors was to test through physical experiments in wind tunnels or towing tanks. However this America’s Cup campaign is the first to prohibit any experimental testing in wind tunnels or towing tanks. This new concept and Yacht design has been modelled on physics with design by optimisation. The results of the simulation data were then compared to the actual boat reactions with testing on and off the water looking closely at safety issues, strains, stress loads etc. The Computational fluid dynamics (the examination of fluid flow in accordance with its physical properties such as velocity, pressure, temperature, density and viscosity) were modelled on the conditions of a wind tunnel. The amount of data that is collected is so large it’s stored across 8 HP desktop machines.

The members of the Design & Engineering Team spend the majority of their time on the Chase Boat, analysing real-time data from the AC75 yacht test runs. The thousands of gigabytes per day that are captured are compared against the computational physics from the simulation data and used in the build of the second boat that will sail in the America’s Cup.

The America’s Cup World Series, Sardinia, April 2020

All teams will meet for the first time between April 23-26, 2020 with the America’s Cup World Series kicking off in Cagliari, Sardinia. The fearlessness with adopting innovation and confidence placed in the simulation, combined with the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of Emirates Team New Zealand – not to mention the backing from Sponsors, Official Suppliers and Supporters – advocate strongly the retention of Current Defender of the America’s Cup. The prowess of the AC75’s will be on full display and we eagerly await seeing the boat racing to its full potential.

maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, to be held in Auckland, New Zealand in March 2021.

maxon motor Australia | tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Update: America’s Cup

No wrong answers?

With four AC75s now successfully launched and actively foiling, what have we learned about the outcomes of the various design strategies chosen by each of the teams for their first-generation boats?

One thing seems clear – that there is more than one way of creating a 75-foot monohull that flies above the water on foils – a fact evidenced by the four distinctly different looking yachts that the teams have independently come up with.

There are so many ways to compare and contrast just how different all four boats look. For instance, the cigar-shaped bow of American Magic’s Defiance and the striking cutaway foredeck and slab sides of Ineos Team UK’s Britannia.

Then there is the comparatively flat bottoms of the American’s and British boats compared to the rounded and v-shaped longitudinal ‘bustles’ underneath the Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli boats respectively.

The closer you look the more the differences you find, and it is tempting to oversimplify things by falling back on the comfortable, well-worn adage that: “Somebody is going to be right, and somebody is going to be wrong”.

But is that really the case? What if in fact – at this stage – nobody is 100 per cent right, or 100 per cent wrong?

Given that all four teams have been up and foiling on these revolutionary boats within days on launching them, isn’t it possible that all four have come up with competitive designs – the performance of which may vary only marginally based on weather conditions and the speed with which the crews get to grips with sailing them?

Although the teams and their spies will have a gut feeling for who amongst them is fast or slow and in what conditions, they will be keeping that information close to their chest right now.

That means that the rest of us will have to wait six months until the teams all come together for the first time for four days of racing at the opening act of the America’s Cup World Series in Cagliari, Sardinia next April 23 – 26 to learn who – if anyone – has stolen a march on the rest.

For now though we can happily continue to pore over every photograph the teams release and squint as we step frame-by-frame through their videos for evidence to support our speculative theories about what the crews are trying out as they battle to get master their AC75s.

However, the reality is that there are so many differences between the four boats that we cannot hope to see even if we were charging alongside in a chase boat.

Those are the hidden differences in the systems that control the flaps on the foils, that determine the constantly shifting 3-D aerodynamic shape of the ground-breaking double-skinned mainsails, and a myriad of other complex elements that make up these highly technological AC75s.

How to effectively balance the complexity and functionality of these systems with the overall reliability of the boat will no doubt be high on the list of problems keeping the design teams and the sailors awake at night.

We may not get to know much about those critical concepts before this 36th edition of the America’s Cup is all played out, but they could easily prove to be the difference between success and failure when the competitive phase begins.

One question that is yet to be definitively answered concerns the crew logistics when manoeuvring the AC75s. Given the centrally divided cockpits on all four boats and the trend towards deck-sweeper mainsails, who amongst the crew will be changing sides and how will they be doing it.

With 11 on the crew, clearly not everyone is going to be running from one side to the other on the tacks and the gybes. Some teams are rumoured to be moving just a handful of sailors each time, while others – it is believed – are experimenting with two helmsman, one on either side of the boat.

It’s a radical approach for sure, but given that the team that can keep its boat in the air the most in a race will likely emerge the winner, it is a technique that is likely well worth trying.



Click here to find out the parameters within which teams can design a yacht eligible to compete in the 36th America’s Cup.

maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.



Update: Emirates Team New Zealand

Junior Data Acquisition / Mechatronics Engineer wanted.

Emirates Team New Zealand are looking for a talented and enthusiastic electronics, mechatronics or mechanical engineer to contribute to the development and calibration of sensors and data acquisition systems on Emirates Team New Zealand’s race yacht that will defend the America’s Cup in 2021.

Sensors are a massive part of the competition: from helping to control the systems on yacht, to providing the instruments that guide the sailors, and collecting data for designers to analyse, we need to excel across all areas to be competitive.

You will be working with Emirates Team New Zealand’s design and build team, an extremely talented group of engineers, boat builders and technicians that cover many disciplines. We are a team, not a company, and this isn’t a typical nine-to-five… you will need to be committed and hard-working, and the rewards in seeing your work contribute to sailing success will give you job satisfaction you won’t find elsewhere.

You will be involved with the specification, manufacture, testing and calibration of a wide range of electronic systems and benefit from the experience of an existing small team of very skilled engineers. Despite being a small group with a unique focus, we are serious about accuracy, sensors and electronics; we are keen to use the latest technologies, and we work to very high standards.

The role:

  • Work with design engineers to understand sensor requirements.
  • Research instrumentation options and test new equipment.
  • Manage the calibration of sensors, including load cells, IMUs, cameras, fibre optic strain sensors.
  • Provide on-the-water support of sensors as required.
  • Adapt as required through the campaign!

Depending on your specific skills, you could also be involved in:

  • Design and prototyping in-house electronics and electrical devices
  • Design of mechanical parts for sensors or sailor input devices, including 3D printing
  • Development of software we run on the yacht for processing sensor data
  • Development of software for live and historic display of sensor data (JavaScript React)
  • Development of PLC code that controls the hydraulic systems on the yacht (we use Beckhoff)

What we’re looking for:

  • A degree in electronics, mechatronics, or mechanical engineering
  • If you are an electrical engineer, a good understanding and intuition of mechanical systems, calibration and measurement
  • If you are a mechanical engineer, some experience in electronics and/or software development
  • Talent, commitment and an enthusiasm for mechatronics.
  • A meticulous eye for detail and a love of being organised.
  • Ability to work and communicate well within a team, but not need 24-7 supervision.
  • Ability to work under pressure, and work long hours when required.
  • NZ citizen or existing work permit.
  • Someone who can start by the end of November.

To apply visit the Emirates Team New Zealand website or Seek.

 maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.


One Class, Two Different Designs: What Next?

The much-anticipated launch of the first two AC75 foiling monohull yachts from the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand and USA Challenger NYYC American Magic respectively did not disappoint the masses of America’s Cup fans waiting eagerly for their first glimpse of an AC75 ‘in the flesh’.

Emirates Team New Zealand were the first to officially reveal their boat at an early morning naming ceremony on September 6. Resplendent in the team’s familiar red, black and grey livery, the Kiwi AC75 was given the Maori name ‘Te Aihe’ (Dolphin).

Meanwhile, the Americans somewhat broke with protocol by carrying out a series of un-announced test sails and were the first team to foil their AC75 on the water prior to a formal launch ceremony on Friday September 14 when their dark blue boat was given the name ‘Defiant’.

But it was not just the paint jobs that differentiated the first two boats of this 36th America’s Cup cycle – as it quickly became apparent that the New Zealand and American hull designs were also strikingly different. On first comparison the two teams’ differing interpretations of the AC75 design rule are especially obvious in the shape of the hull and the appendages.

While the New Zealanders have opted for a bow section that is – for want of a better word – ‘pointy’, the Americans have gone a totally different route with a bulbous bow that some have described as ‘scow-like’ – although true scow bows are prohibited in the AC75 design rule.

The differences between the two AC75 hulls do not stop there, with the two design teams taking significantly contrasting approaches on the underwater profiles of their AC75s as well.

While the American Magic AC75 appears to have been built with an all but totally flat underwater section, Emirates Team New Zealand’s boat has a pronounced longitudinal bulge underneath running almost from bow to stern.

These two different approaches have set the sailing world alight with fans speculating over the thinking is behind each of them and pondering what the sailing characteristics of each boat might be.

Despite being very different the images of the two boats reveal some similarities as well such as the cockpit layout. Both teams have their cockpit divided in two by a central extension to the forward deck, creating two pits in which the crew can operate low down and out of the airstream. There will be plenty of improvements to come on how teams will manoeuvre the boats but so far both teams seem to have decided on fixed positions for their grinders who won’t cross sides during tacks and jibes.

With foiling now established for the America’s Cup, a key focus for designers has been to make the foils more efficient. Once again designing the shape, width and thickness of the foil wing is a trade-off between speed and stability.

The path chosen by the two teams have been very diverse. Emirates Team New Zealand has two different foils: one with anhedral angle and the other one which is straight. American Magic, on the contrary, seems to have two very similar foils wings in terms of shape and that’s probably because the Kiwis are still testing solutions whereas the Americans having been sailing consistently with their test boat, might have already got to some key conclusions.

Given that we can expect the teams to build and test a multitude of shapes in the run up to the 36th America’s Cup there is probably little to be gained from too much analysis there at this stage.

After almost a decade, soft sails are back in the America’s Cup and a lot of effort has been put in by the teams adapting the twin skinned mainsail concept to the new Class Rule with the main difference between the two AC75 appearing to be the boom position in relation to the mainsail foot. The Americans sporting a conventional boom, whereas the Kiwis have opted for a deck-sweeper mainsail foot, not unlike those used on the latest A-Class catamarans.

Despite all their differences – in their bows, underwater sections, and other design features – it is worth noting that both boats were foiling (and seemingly stably) within hours of going sailing for the first time. That is a remarkable achievement for both syndicates and a testimony to both the designers and builders, as well as to the efficacy of the AC75 design rule itself.

And it seems we will not have to wait very long for the next two AC75s to see the first light of day. The Italian Official Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team is scheduled to be the next to launch on October 2, with the British INEOS Team UK syndicate following suit two days later.

Could we see two more surprising design ideas on show then?


maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.


Boat builders wanted.

Do you want to work on building the next Emirates Team New Zealand AC75? The team is looking for boatbuilders!

Emirates Team New Zealand is inviting applications for the following roles at our in-house build facility on the North Shore, Auckland.

  • Tradesman Boat Builders
  • Experienced composite workers
  • New or continuing existing apprenticeships for Boatbuilders / Composite Technicians
  • Labourers with composite boatbuilding experience.

With an America’s Cup sailing programme about to start with the launch of Boat #1, we are now looking to increase our boat building team to work on future projects.  We are on the lookout for full-time tradespeople who can produce top quality work.

We are looking for keen, self-motivated workers who have experience working on composite race yachts. If you believe this is an industry you’d like to train to be part of then there are also options for new or continuing existing apprenticeships as Boatbuilders / Composite Technicians.

Please send your CV along with a covering letter outlining your experience to Applications close on Monday 30 September.

Applicants must have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa.


maxon motor Australia is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.


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