Russell Coutts, CEO of the ORACLE Racing Team, sailed the new AC45 yesterday. See images and video from Auckland

Images courtesy of Giles Martin-Raget

“It’s the first time I’ve seen the boat… it’s really impressive,” was his initial assessment. “It sails really nicely, it’s well balanced, all the systems on board work well – they’ve done a great job,” the four-time Cup winner said following his first sail. “It’s going to be great racing in these boats.”

ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill said it took his boss about five minutes before he wanted to steer. “It didn’t take long before he was on the helm.”

Spithill’s team has been acting as a test crew during the sea trials of the first AC45 catamaran. This initial boat belongs to America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM) and will be shared among teams while they wait for their own AC45 to be delivered. Testing is scheduled to continue today.