There weren’t many people on hand to see Peter Burling carry the Auld Mug, the America’s Cup in through the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club door, past the shelves of physically lesser silverware – they were all waiting for him inside.
It’s an experience given to few yachtsmen, and the club turned out in strength to welcome Peter. Once through the door he was greeted by standing, applauding club members and guests as he carried the America’s Cup up to the front of the club, plonked the 15kg piece of Victoriana silverware on the table and prepared to talk sailing with sailors.
An engineering student himself, Peter’s team mates for the Tauranga visit included Vito Vattuone the Emirates Team NZ Hydraulics engineer, the guy who made the cyclor-power possible, making the Emirates Team NZ catamaran the only boat in the competition not relying on sheets for sail control.
Ricky Bray, a former Tauranga boat builder with Southern Ocean, and structural engineer Andy Kensington another sailor from Tauranga, and Emirates Team NZ board member Greg Horton wrapped up the Tauranga Boys’ College old boys section.
Alix de Lamotte is a master of mechanical engineering and has a master degree in naval architecture and who among other duties was weighmaster for the boat. They were also accompanied by cup custodian Norman Newton.
It was a conversation for club members covering the ins and outs of the campaign, both on and off the water; with Greg Horton providing the board room perspective on navigating through a competition where the rules and interpretations of the rules changed at times without warning.
Peter Burling says the team’s approach was first to make sure the boat was going as quick as they could make it go – and then to work out how to sail it.
They knew they were in the competition with the right boat in the first week in Bermuda, says Peter.
The foils were Andy Kensington’s arena. At $400,000 each they couldn’t afford to break them, but they did, one on day two, and another on day 5.
He attributes the speed of the Emirates Team NZ boat to the countless hours spent driving virtual foils around on the computer.
The foils known as boards, were the most highly loaded component on the boat. They had two sets, the stable but easy to sail boards, and the top end boards.
“Probably the most loose board out there,” says Andy.
They did most of the Louis Vuitton sailing on the second set. They broke a board on day two and another on day five.