Team NZ forced to turn two wingsails into one with cannibal repair job

Team New Zealand are cannibalising their two damaged wingsails to make one competitive unit in the hope of getting back to racing as quickly as possible.

Skipper Glenn Ashby outlined the repair programme under way after a costly and dramatic day of action in the America's Cup challenger semifinal series with Britain's Ben Ainslie Racing.

The Kiwis damaged a wingsail on their way out to the course early in the afternoon. They managed to return to base, replace it and win the first of the days' races against Sir Ben Ainslie.

The top of Team New Zealand's second damaged wingsail after their capsize.
RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017

The top of Team New Zealand's second damaged wingsail after their capsize.

But they did a pitch-pole capsize at the start of the next clash with the Brits, suffering no injuries but significant damage to their second wingsail and the boat in general.

READ MORE:
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Burling admits mistake that led to Team NZ capsize
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Team NZ escape capsize with bumps and bruises'
Team NZ capsize in start box ahead of semifinal

 

Team New Zealand now stand at 3-1 in their race to get five points and a place in the final. The shore crew and boatbuilders are busy working to get the crew sailing again with the next two races scheduled for Thursday (NZ time), though a heavy wind forecast could see a cancellation.

Reducing themselves to just one working wingsail for the short-term will leave them vulnerable, especially if the heavy winds that caused chaos today – all the boats suffered some damage – continue.

But that's a risk they are willing to take.

Team New Zealand start repair work on their damaged wingsails after a costly day of America's Cup challengers semifinal ...
EMIRATES TEAM NZ

Team New Zealand start repair work on their damaged wingsails after a costly day of America's Cup challengers semifinal action.

"With the wing, basically we are in a position where will be able to swap some flaps around to get one wing workable," Ashby explained.

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"I don't think the wing will be a big issue at all. Obviously we won't have a spare and if we do have another issue, we are up against it then. But fingers crossed, that will work out OK."

Ashby felt the bigger concerns for the moment lay in general structural checks and inspecting the electronics after the boat spent considerable time upside down initially and then flipped on to its side with its port hull submerged.

GILLES MARTIN-RAGNET/ ACEA 2017 GILLES MARTIN-RAGET/ ACEA 2017 GILLES MARTIN-RAGET/ACEA 2017 RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017 RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017 RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017 RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017 RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017 CHRIS CAMERON/ PHOTOSPORT GILLES MARTIN-RAGET/ ACEA 2017 GILLES MARTIN-RAGET/ ACEA 2017 GILLES MARTIN-RAGNET/ ACEA 2017 RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017 RICARDO PINTO/ ACEA 2017

Disaster as Team NZ pitch-pole in the Great Sound off Bermuda.

Team New Zealand flip spectacularly in the start box.

Team New Zealand lies stricken in the water after capsizing.

Team New Zealand sailors are trapped in their pods after the their boat pitch-poled.

Team New Zealand's main sail is in tatters after their capsize.

A Team New Zealand crewman in the water after their disastrous pitch-pole.

A Team New Zealand work to right their vessel after they capsized before the start of their race against BAR.

Team NZ sailors are suspended in mid-air with the boat on its side on the Great Sound in Bermuda.

Team New Zealand sailors hang on after the boat capsized in the Great Sound.

Team NZ sailors hold on as their craft is righted after a capsize during the America's Cup challenger series semifinals.

Crew boats respond after Team New Zealand capsize in the start box of their America's Cup challengers series semifinal race against Ben Ainslie Racing.

Team NZ sailors and debris in the water after the boat capsized in the Great Sound.

Team NZ capsize in the Great Sound.

Ben Ainslie Racing battle the rough seas in day two of racing in the America's Cup challenger series semifinals.

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"There's quite a lot of structural damage to the fairings and bits and pieces on the actual platform itself, so the engineers and boatbuilders are going over the boat with a fine-toothed comb for all aspects of the structure," Ashby said.

"We also have a lot of electronics and hydraulics components that got a good dousing.

"The boat will be back on the water again, hopefully sooner rather than later."

Recap: America's Cup helmsmen's news conference after Team NZ capsize.

Speaking of the crash that came as helmsman Peter Burling accelerated off the start line to catch Ainslie, Ashby likened it to "going down a mine".

"We lost a rudder elevation and that sent us down a mine which resulted in a fairly catastrophic capsize and a lot of damage," he said, vowing to battle back.

"Absolutely not ideal but we have an amazing team that are very resilient to this sort of thing and I have absolutely no doubt that we will bounce back even stronger than we are now.

"The boat is going nicely and whilst this is a little bit of a setback for us, it's not the first time we have these sort of adverses situations. Everyone is mucking in now to get the job down and get the boat out there again and we will be looking forward to getting stuck back into the racing again."

Ashby, looking for a silver lining to a disastrous day, pointed to the points table.

"If you could take anything out of the day, we came out of it with the same number of points lead we went into the day with," the always chirpy Australian said.

"We are in a strong position. We are happy with our boat and we are happy with how we are progressing. Obviously a bit of a setback today but I think that will make the team stronger. It has certainly put the fire in the belly to get out there and put our foot further forward."

 - Stuff

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