By Jane Phare NZ Herald


The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's vice-commodore doesn't mince words.

"It's going to be dangerous."

Aaron Young is talking about the AC75, Emirates Team New Zealand's still-secret monohull that will half sail, half fly its way to win, if all goes to plan, the 36th America's Cup in Auckland harbour come March 2021.

Team NZ boss Grant Dalton has already warned the 75-footer could roll. There's no keel to keep the boat upright and it'll be screaming along at 50 knots (92.6km/h) or more, two metres above the water. It'll only take one mistake.




Young has had a sneak preview of the latest weapon. He can't say too much because "Dalts" won't be happy if he spills the beans before next month's launch. What he does say is that there's potential for a lot to go wrong.

The trick will be for the 11 crew to keep the boat upright.

"They [the boats] will capsize at some point, hopefully not during the racing, but that's part of what makes it exciting."
The boat that foils 100 per cent of the time will win, he says.

After what he saw in Team NZ's well-guarded boatyard in Albany, Young says the gap between marine design, aerodynamics and hydrodynamics is now very slim.

"The world's never seen anything like this boat."

That's exactly the reaction "Dalts" and team principal Matteo de Nora are expecting. To them, this race is the Formula One of sailing, the boat an example of extreme, world-leading design.

"We are supposed to be a step ahead, not a step behind," de Nora says.

The Swiss-Italian businessman has waited a long time to see the America's Cup defended in New Zealand. It has consumed his life since he met Dalton 16 years ago after the disappointing 31st America's Cup in Auckland which saw Team NZ, plagued by dramatic gear failures, lose to Alinghi.

Apart from wanting to win the Cup, de Nora sees the event as a boost for New Zealand. It is a "no brainer", he says, that the lead-up to the event will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of net money to the economy, including local and central government.

"You don't need to be a sailing fan to want this to happen in New Zealand because it is an event that benefits everyone in the end."