Emirates Team New Zealand’s chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge reflects on the end of the Boat 1 sailing programme and the push to get Boat 2 ready to go sailing
The sailing programme finished on time, in fact two days earlier than we had planned way back in January when we sat down to write the AC72 programme.
That was good news. It gave us a little extra time to decommision boat 1 pre-Christmas. The boat has now been pulled apart and every component has been structurally checked.
We stopped the sailing programme mid-December to enable some of the structural elements to be used in the second boat. Boat 2 is now in one piece, beams attached.
Over the holiday, some team members will have a very short break and will be back at work on January 3. The entire team will be back at work on the 7th. By then the boat will have been painted, the graphics will be on and the boat will be near ready to be trucked to the base.
The shore crew, most of the sailing team and contractors will work on fit-out through January: electronics, hydraulics, the trampoline and all the hundreds of small fittings will be put on to the boat in preparation for a launch in early February.
The sailing team will be involved in their own areas so they know exactly how the boat went together and it makes it easier from them to use equipment efficiently and troubleshoot any problems.
Construction of Wing 2 is well advanced. Boat 2 will use Wing 1 in for the first few weeks to allow us to test the platform’s structural integrity and not have any issues with the wing, making it a relatively more straight forward and quicker process than it was for Boat 1.
Fit out for the new boat should be faster than it was for Boat 1. That took us nearly six weeks with the first boat and we’re trying to do that now in 3 – 4 weeks.
The boat has been simplified and we know a lot more about what we are doing. And certain components that are coming off boat 1 to go on Boat 2 to save time as well.
Boat 1 is not being retired. We could get it sailing again within a week if we had to.