Sailing: Is it a boat, is it a plane? Team NZ launch America's Cup 'flying machine'

Sailing: Is it a boat, is it a plane? Team NZ launch America's Cup 'flying machine'

Team New Zealand launched their second-generation AC75 for the next year's America's Cup
Team New Zealand launches their second-generation AC75 for next year's America's Cup. (Photo: AFP/Emirates Team New Zealand)

WELLINGTON: The cutting-edge yacht that Team New Zealand will use to defend the America's Cup took to the water in Auckland harbour on Friday (Nov 20), with crew members describing it as a "flying machine".

The 23m yacht features innovative foil arms, which lift the hull above the surface of the water into the air, reducing drag and increasing racing speed.

Team NZ skipper Glenn Ashby said the vessel - which is expected to reach speeds of more than 50 knots (93kmh) - was part racing yacht and part aircraft.

"It is a boat and it has to go through the water, but it's also a flying machine," he said.

"The hairs on the back of your neck stand up when this thing goes in the water, and over the next few days and weeks I just can't wait to get out there."

The yacht is named Te Rehutai, a Maori expression referring to the strength and energy of the ocean.

The second generation of the AC75 class boats are single-hulled and much larger than the 15m foiling catamarans used at the last America's Cup in Bermuda in 2017.

The Auckland event will see challengers compete for the Prada Cup in January and February next year, with the winner then racing Team New Zealand for the America's Cup in March.

The three confirmed challengers are American Magic of the United States, INEOS Team UK of Britain and Luna Rossa of Italy.

Source: AFP/kg