America’s Cup: Blair Tuke gives new AC40 boat big tick

Team New Zealand star Blair Tuke has given the new America’s Cup test boat a huge tick after his first ride on the AC40.

Tuke and his good mate Peter Burling hopped off a plane from Europe where they have ignited their SailGP campaign with some stunning results to jump on the AC40 and take it for aa demanding test session on the Waitemata Harbor.

They moved from the F50 catamarans of SailGP back into the foiling monohulls of the America’s Cup with ease, delighted with the performance of the half-scale AC40 as they hit speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The AC40 has quickly proven it will be a valuable asset to the 2024 America's Cup scene.

America’s Cup

The AC40 has quickly proven it will be a valuable asset to the 2024 America’s Cup scene.

“It was pretty epic. It’s an awesome package,” Tuke told the America’s Cup recon team watching their every move.

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“It was an awesome day. We had a NE 15-18kts. It’s pretty easy in the maneuvers.

“It was good testing, and we learned a lot. We were pushing it in fast mode today. It’s an awesome package and with a bit more refinement will be a great boat for the youth and women’s America’s Cup and for the teams to do their testing on. “

Tuke noted they had the benefit of the commissioning work their Team New Zealand team mates Nathan Outteridge, Ray Davies, Sam Meech and Ray Davies undertook last week as the search for the true potential of the one-class design continues.

Peter Burling takes a breather during AC40 testing.

America’s Cup / Stuff

Peter Burling takes a breather during AC40 testing.

They shared the four-seat boat with Outteridge and Meech and much of their focus was on really pushing the autopilot flight control system in some lumpy conditions, eager to see how it would react in waves.

They made 13 tacts and nine gybes with just one splashdown.

“We’re still working on autopilot, so we tried finding a few more ways to test it,” Tuke explained.

“We tucked in behind a few more waves, but it didn’t do anything [nosedive]so we went around to Shark Alley, and the waves there lined up for us, which was intentional.

“Then we found the car ferry wake. We literally lined up right on the ferry wake to see how long we would last.

“We learned a lot today and tested the refinements from the previous days.

“Just three days in and being able to push it like that is pretty cool.”

Burling and Tuke now have a decent break from SailGP to immerse themselves in Team New Zealand’s rapidly building Cup program. The next SailGP regatta isn’t until November 12-14 in Dubai and that will also free up other key Team NZ sailors Andy Maloney and Josh Junior.

Team New Zealand will keep pushing the boundaries in the AC40’s one design mode but will also be eager to explore its potential as a test boat for their new AC75 that will be used for the defense of the America’s Cup in Barcelona in 2024.

Cup teams have the allowance to use different wing foils, sails and rigs on the AC40 to help with the design and development of their full-scale boats for Barcelona.

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