The new AC9F Youth America’s Cup yacht has undergone an official on-water sail testing day in Auckland with fantastic results, and the event is well on track for 2021.
With two female and two male crew on board, the boat was up on the foils straight away, and was pushing speeds of up to 30 knots. The crew even managed a few foiling gybes and showed, even in this early testing stage, that the AC9F will be an exciting boat to see in action during next year’s event.
This first AC9F has been designed and built in New Zealand in a collaboration between Yachting Developments and the New Zealand marine industry, including Southern Spars, Harken and North Sails. This has helped generate jobs and money for the country.
Yachting Developments owner Ian Cook was out on the water to witness the boat in action and was incredibly happy with the outcome.
“It was great to see the boat sailing and working well," he said. "We are thrilled with how it performed.
"It has been a big combined effort from the New Zealand marine industry to make this happen, and to see it flying on the foils at speed today was a massive result for everyone involved.”
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have received 17 confirmed entries for the Youth America's Cup, with 15 of these from international teams. With more in the pipeline, the goal of 20 teams is looking likely.
This would see teams bring in more than 250 people to New Zealand, all of whom will be staying in the country for several months which will have a positive impact on the New Zealand economy. This figure doesn’t include families and spectators, which will then push this impact up even further.
“This event is going to be huge for New Zealand and we can’t wait to see all the teams here and getting stuck in," Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron chief executive Hayden Porter said. "A huge amount of hard work has gone on behind the scenes gathering entries and getting the first boat ready to go.
"This event is set to have a very important impact on the New Zealand economy, and will bring in the equivalent of two America’s Cup teams worth of people into the country for a long period of time. It will generate tens of millions of dollars for New Zealand. Teams will soon begin the immigration process and are willing to quarantine at their expense to ensure they can compete as required.”Gender diversity is one of the main draw cards and motivations for this reinvigorated Youth America’s Cup, with all teams required to include two male and two female crew members.
Ocean Race sailor Bianca Cook, who is also involved with Yachting Developments, was on board for the testing and is really excited by the gender diversity rule for this event.
“It was a lot of fun," Cook said. "I only wish I was young enough to be able to compete in the event next year.
"I think this event is going to be a great success and the gender diversity makes it really interesting. I think to have this rule in place can only be a positive for the sport of sailing, and paves the way for female sailors to be involved in major sailing events such as the America’s Cup.”
The Youth America’s Cup will take place over a three-week period in the off-sailing days of the Prada Cup Challenger Series finals and America’s Cup match. The dates are February 18-23, March 1-5 and March 8-12, 2021.
Teams are set to begin arriving later this year for training preparations, and now with the first boat in the water and performing well, the countdown is on for what is going to be a superb event in Auckland in 2021.
- Pic: The first official test of the AC9F proved a success. Photo: Andrew Delves / RNZYS.