On Auckland Harbour today … the AC72 performing the “tow test”. Link to video below.
The second season of the AC45 World Series starts in less than a month at San Francisco.
Four regattas are scheduled, two at San Francisco this year (August 22-26 and October 3-7) and one each at Venice (April 17-21 2013) and Naples (May 14-19).
Emirates Team New Zealand, while all attention is focused on the new AC72, will compete in all four regattas.
With a second overall result from last season, the team is looking to improve while acknowledging a lack of time on the water with the AC45 will work against the consistency required to achieve that.
The regatta format, which evolved during the course of the 2011-12 season, has been changed again but organisers say the schedule will be basically identical for the four regattas.
Race director Iain Murray has confirmed major changes. Five days of racing starting on the Wednesday will end with the big final on Sunday.
At each regatta, racing will start on Wednesday afternoon with the match racing. Over the following three days, two fleet races will be held with points counting towards qualification for the match race semi-finals.
On the closing Sunday, the top four teams in the match racing overall rankings will meet in the semi-finals and the winners will face each other in the final.
All the teams will compete in the final race in the fleet race championship.
(For the first San Francisco event, the match racing semi-final and the final will be raced on Saturday afternoon rather than on Sunday in order to make the most of the best weather conditions.
A Sunday start before the sea breeze has time to develop would risk light and variable conditions.
• Meanwhile, Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC72 made its first, tentative step outside the Viaduct Harbour today, without the wingsail and under tow. The cat’s next outing will be with the wing in place and sailing for the first time. That’s likely to be later in the week when weather forecasts are more settled.