Emirates Team New Zealand has had a race against time to prepare its second boat for next week's event in Valencia
Emirates Team New Zealand has ended weeks of speculation about its participation in the America’s Cup pre-regatta in Valencia and confirmed it will definitely be racing. Following significant damage to the boat that raced in Marseille, NZL82, the Auckland-based team has had a race against time to ready its second boat, NZL81, for action.
The main challenge was to transport the ETNZ’s yacht to Valencia from Auckland in time for the regatta which starts on 4 October. Having tried a number of options, the unlikely answer came in the shape of a retired RAF Belfast aircraft.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s boat was loaded into the cargo hold of the lumbering turbo-prop aircraft in Auckland and arrived in Valencia some 55 hours later. With stops at Darwin, Singapore, Colombo, Dubai and Crete, the journey took more than three days in total.
The yacht arrived in Spain almost seven days exactly from the time the decision was made to fly it to Valencia to replace NZL82, damaged in a freak storm while sitting on its cradle on the Marseille dock.
Emirates Team New Zealand shore manager Barry McKay and a shore team unloaded the yacht in a couple of hours and it was trucked through to the team’s waterfront base. A team of boat builders, electrical and electronics specialists started working immediately to have the yacht ready to sail on 1 October .