Swedish America's Cup syndicate Artemis have finally got their giant catamaran sailing in San Francisco.
A fortnight after damaging the yacht under tow, Artemis made their debut yesterday.
They are one of three challengers for the Cup with racing to be held in San Francisco in July. Team New Zealand and Italian syndicate Luna Rossa have already launched their cats in Auckland with the Kiwis the most advanced in testing.
Cup holders Oracle remain in limbo after their boat was demolished in a dramatic capsize in San Francisco last month.
Artemis trialled their cat for three hours in winds of 8-12 knots and there was a buzz around the syndicate.
"It's a big milestone for the team," said skipper Terry Hutchinson.
"We've been working tirelessly towards this day and have had a few setbacks which have been painful for all of us to deal with, so this is the first day of many and it's nice to get it rolling.
"We were quite conservative about the way we sailed the boat today and we worked through the process methodically and signed off on the checklist. You have to show these boats respect; you can tell already that this is going to be a beast."
Artemis CEO and cup veteran Paul Cayard said the team now needed to push on and maximise the testing days that are available to them under the strict rules.
"We're very excited to get out there for day one," Cayard said.
"It was a perfect first day - nothing bad happened and we got a lot of valuable data. We have 30 sailing days we can use, so we'll review everything and plan to get back out on Thursday and do it again. We have to learn in the most efficient way possible with the days we have.
"The first day sailing in every America's Cup is significant. But this Cup it's a quantum leap because the boats are a new class, it's catamarans and the wing... and we've had a few setbacks, we've taken it on the chin a little bit, so it was a big deal for us to get out there and have a good day."
- © Fairfax NZ News