Team NZ not ready to let catamaran out of bag

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2012
Grant Dalton
Kent Gray
Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton looks forward to sailing on the new AC72.

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Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton says their new giant America's Cup catamaran is on course for a mid-July launch.

The boat is being built at the Cookson yard in Auckland and Dalton has declared everything is "well on schedule". But he's saying little else until the 72-foot beast is revealed for the start of testing.

"Until everyone unveils we will have to keep it fairly low-profile in terms of what the shapes are," Dalton said.

Cookson was also busy working on components for Prada's giant cat as part of their partnership with Team New Zealand.

The Kiwis are busy shifting bases in Auckland's Viaduct Basin to accommodate their new boat.

Team New Zealand are moving their administration and operational centre next door to the old Alinghi base. The current base is being demolished and will be replaced by a structure made of tents and containers where the catamaran will be housed.

The Kiwis will have about a year to get to terms with the dynamics of sailing the monster.

The Louis Vuitton Cup challengers' series will be raced in San Francisco from July 4 to September 1 next year with the America's Cup match against Oracle starting a week later.

Meanwhile, Dean Barker's Team New Zealand crew will contest the Venice leg of the America's Cup World Series – sailed in 45-foot catamarans – tomorrow, looking to get ahead of Oracle who lead the series by one point.

And in Miami, Team New Zealand's round the world yacht Camper is readying for a return to action this weekend with the in-port race and the start of the seventh leg to Lisbon.

The in-port race has taken on larger proportions given the tight nature of the top of the table following the results of the last leg where Camper finished second.

Camper's new crew member Nick Burridge says he's up for the challenge of shifting from the shore crew to the boat.

Burridge replaces bowman Mike Pammenter who injured his back on the last leg.

"I am really excited, but I'm most nervous about the in-port race. I haven't sailed in this mid-bow position in a racing situation. I really hope we can get a good result, it would set me up really well mentally for the offshore," Burridge said.

"I've had a lot more rest than the sailors have, they've not had a rest since China. I'm feeling fit and good, so that will be an advantage. I think I'm the fittest I've been, I've been working pretty hard on it since January a year ago, just in case this opportunity came around."

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