Emirates Team New Zealand revealed their new custom designed and built test boat, Te Kāhu, today in Auckland.
Te Kāhu meaning ‘The Hawk’ was rolled out of the shed and was christened by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
“We are really excited about launching Te Kāhu today. Alot of work has gone into the design and build of this boat internally, which is amazing really as it has all taken place between the design and build of our first AC75 and the ongoing work on our next AC75 race boat.” said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton.
Te Kāhu is within the rules on test yachts according to the 36th America’s Cup Protocol which says they must not exceed 12 metres length overall (LOA), and will be used by the team to continue design development for a large proportion of 2020 while their AC75 ‘Te Aihe’ is being shipped and raced offshore for the America’s Cup World Series events in Cagliari, Sardinia (April 23-26) and Portsmouth (June 4-7).
To outside spectators it seems that Emirates Team New Zealand is a bit late to the party with the launch of their test boat, considering the Challengers test boats were launched all the way back in September 2018, to which Dalton explains:
“It might seem like the launch of our test boat is a bit overdue, but early in any campaign decisions have to be made that ultimately will only be judged at the end. As a team, we decided that a test boat was indeed a really key necessity but believed it needed to have as much design input as our first AC75 to give it meaningful ongoing development possibilities.”
“There is no doubt looking back that the Challengers all learnt some valuable lessons and got a bit of a jump on us with their developments. But it was a conscious decision of ours to suck that up and play the long game knowing that points don’t start to count until the first race of the America’s Cup in March 2021.” continued Dalton.
Emirates Team New Zealand are now in the process of packing up and preparing Te Aihe for shipping to Cagliari in preparation for the first ACWS event in April, which is the next time the AC75 will be sailed, and the first time it will line up to race against the other AC75’s.
Dalton concluded: “In Te Kāhu we have a very legitimate test boat which will provide us the platform to hopefully make some significant gains in our developments for 2021. Who is right in their overall plans and strategy we have no idea. I guess we will find out next year.”
About the name:
‘Te Kāhu’ was named by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei sms is translated as ‘The Hawk’
The hawk majestically glides and soars at high speeds in the wind. It has great vision and foresight and stealthily swoops in on its prey.