America’s Cup holders Team New Zealand have given the world an early glimpse of the radical new boats to be sailed at Auckland 2021.
They revealed the 75-foot foiling monohull on the forecourt of their Auckland base on Thursday, a day ahead of the official launch early Friday morning.
Shore crew were seen fitting the huge mast – it stands 26.5m from the deck – to the boat with the use of a large crane.
The boat was sitting on a cradle with its foils hanging below it.
“The spies are about to become very busy,” Emirates Team New Zealand said on their Facebook page as they posted a series of photos that had already ignited social media.
“What a sexy looking birdboat!” enthused specialist yachting site livesaildie.com.
The four challengers will no doubt be already running the rule over the boat based on what they have seen in this sneak preview.
Challenger of Record Luna Rossa from Italy are set to launch their boat early next week.
The sleek New Zealand machine was painted red, black and grey and featured the team’s sponsors.
The 20.7m hull was glistening with its 2m bowsprit featuring proudly. The hull has been designed with aerodynamics to help increase speed while it is out of the water on the foils. It appears to have a bulb-like feature through its centre.
The unexpected – and so brazen – appearance will take a bit of sting out of the official launch, set down for around 7am on Friday, where the team’s sponsors, suppliers and key supporters have been invited along with what will undoubtedly be a large public gathering.
The boat is the first of the new generation to be fully revealed.
Teams are able to build a second boat and Team New Zealand are already working on the design tweaks for that boat which will be the one to defend the Auld Mug.
This first boat will spend much of the spring and summer in Auckland as the crew fine-tune their sailing on the revolutionary craft.
Meanwhile, the first races will be held in late April at an America’s Cup World Series regatta in Italy.