Team NZ catamaran jigsaw puzzle taking shape

Last updated 05:00 27/06/2012
Team New Zealand's AC72 catamaran
Team New Zealand's AC72 catamaran arrives at the syndicate's Viaduct base.

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The pieces of the giant jigsaw puzzle that will make Emirates Team New Zealand's first America's Cup racing catamaran have all arrived at the team's Auckland base.

Too big to be transported by road in one piece, the 22m long and 16m wide AC72 multihull will be assembled on the edge of the Viaduct Harbour over the next few weeks, ready for launch mid-July.

The major components - the two hulls and cross beams - were delivered to the base today.   The cat's composite components have been built at Cookson Boats in Glenfield, Southern Spars in Avondale, and three other boatbuilding companies. About 40,000 hours have so fargone into the build.

For the past two months, work has been underway at the base on the AC72's 40m massivewingsail.

Much of the work is being done inside a huge temporary building to house the yacht - a 65m long structure made up of 12 40ft shipping containers covered by a tent. The tent city will follow the team to San Francisco next year.

Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton said the team had been working towards this day since the end of 2010.

"Nothing like this cat has ever been built before," he said.

"Everything about these boats is entirely new: the design, the engineering, the fittings and the complexity of the build. Right from the start the project has raised a new set of challenges for the team and the marine industry. We have even had a team working on procedures to launch and retrieve the yacht.  There was no manual to consult.

"A coalition of local companies has come together to make this happen - boat builders, spar makers, suppliers and machine shops. Without their whole-hearted support the build would not have been possible to complete on budget and on time."

Dalton said it was interesting that New Zealand was still "at the centre of the action" for thisAmerica's Cup, even though the regatta will be raced in San Francisco in 2013. With four teams in the final stages of building an AC72, three of them are largely being built in New Zealand.

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"Oracle is building major components at Warkworth, and Luna Rossa and ourselves are building at Auckland. Under the protocol the hulls have to be built in a team's home country. Other components and structures, including the wings, can be built anywhere," he said.

The first of two AC72s that Emirates Team New Zealand will build will be christened in a public naming ceremony in the Viaduct Harbour in the early evening of July 21.

- Boating NZ

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