Grant Dalton blogs on stepping the AC72 wing for the first time…..
Today is a step, be it a big step, for the Emirates Team New Zealand campaign. The cat has seen the light of day for the first time and the wing has been fitted and brought up to tension.
In recent weeks the base has been operating seven days a week to get to this day. In fact we have just done 35 days straight. Normally that could bring issues but to the total credit of all the team there is not one crack, well not that I can see anyway.
So what now? Saturday night is our live TV launch, looks like we will have up to 1000 invited guests (sponsors, suppliers and the many people who have contributed to the big cat) the weather looks like it may play ball and with the publicity that the boat is starting to generate we could end up – and hope to end up – with a large crowd.
For the first 1500 there’s a launch T-shirt and a spot on the long rope that’s attached to a ‘ bottle rig’ on the boat to help launch it.
Because it will be dark when the show gets underway we have opportunities with lights and fireworks as well. It will be spectacular.
We are also piping gas across the water so we can ring the boat in flames. It’s a big event for the team to organise and until today I was nervous about whether we could pull it off. Seems that we have it as under control as we could have with three days to go – at least the star of the show’s wing fits.
But we can give ourselves a moment today to reflect. With the mess that Alinghi and Oracle initially made, it’s amazing we are here, more amazing when the budgets went through the roof that we survived. As a team we can take satisfaction from the fact that while nearly all around us fell by the way side we have made it to this point.
We all know exactly what lies ahead. Oracle and Artemis, with endless money running endless projects, may well produce speed edges.
Sit in on a design meeting here and you know there is more out there. We are partly protected by time. There’s not enough of it. The danger is, even if you have the money, looking for a silver bullet and having no time to develop it could be very costly.
So for now we will concentrate on getting the boat launched and sailing and hope that the New Zealand public will get in behind the campaign as we start our lead-up to San Fran next year. One thing is for sure, this will cut quite a pose in an Auckland Wednesday-night race.