With days to go, Emirates Team New Zealand has now repaired its cat after a collision with Land Rover BAR during practice racing last week resulted in four days off the water. Watch the moment of impact
The battle for the 35th America’s Cup starts on Friday.
Yesterday, there was palpable relief for Emirates Team New Zealand, who were back practicing on the Great Sound in Bermuda having finished days of repairs to their damaged catamaran.
The Kiwi team were forced to spend four days off the water following a collision with Land Rover BAR on 16 May during practice racing.
Commenting on the damage at the time, Emirates’ helmsman Peter Burling said: “It went straight in under the media pod with his windward bow and right down the inside of the leeward hull, so there is a pretty good dent there. You can definitely see if has punctured right into the cockpit right around where my steering wheel is.”
Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton added: “We know Ben well, he is a good guy but frustration is obviously getting to him and the red mist came down and it’s a lot of damage in a time we can’t afford it.”
Land Rover BAR suffered damage to their bow during the collision.
Sir Ben Ainslie accepted responsibility for the crash, putting it down to the unfortunate sides of racing.
“We had a crash with Team New Zealand in a pre-start which was really unfortunate and it was my fault as helmsman, I’ve been forward in apologising about that,” said Ainslie in a video on Land Rover BAR’s Facebook.
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“The first thing I did when we got back to base was to call Grant Dalton to offer any support we could give, and to be honest they’ve been great.
“We’ve had plenty of conversations, there’s been a lot of effort from both shore crews and thankfully it doesn’t look like Team New Zealand have lost too much development time out on the water.
“It was unfortunate but it happens in racing. It’s part of the game and you move on,” added Sir Ben.
With the clock ticking until the start of the America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand and Land Rover BAR are being forced to make repairs to their cats after a collision during the final week of practice racing.
Having sat out of competitive racing on day one (15 May) of the latest round of practice racing, the Kiwi team enjoyed a promising afternoon, winning races nine and ten, overcoming Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France respectively.
However, it was the scheduled 12th race, a rematch of their duel with Land Rover BAR, that proved the day’s real talking point after the race was abandoned following a collision between the two boats in the pre-start, which resulted in both teams sustaining damage.
Helmsman of Emirates Team New Zealand, Peter Burling, had secured the favoured leeward end of the line and had shut out Land Rover BAR when the incident happened.
“It was a bit of a shame in the last pre start we had the leeward end of the line pretty locked down, Ben was quite late and just ran straight into the back of us,” explained Burling.
“Just unnecessary a week out from the America’s Cup we are all here to learn and it’s a shame we have a pretty big metre dent now in the back of our nice boat,” he continued.
Explaining the damage to the Kiwi boat, Burling continued: “It went straight in under the media pod with his windward bow and right down the inside of the leeward hull, so there is a pretty good dent there. You can definitely see if has punctured right into the cockpit right around where my steering wheel is.”
After assessing the damage, Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said: “We know Ben well, he is a good guy but frustration is obviously getting to him and the red mist came down and it’s a lot of damage in a time we can’t afford it.”
Land Rover BAR confirmed via their Twitter page that the incident had caused damage to their bow.
The British team immediately started making repairs with the aim of getting back out on the water for practice racing for day three.
On its Facebook Page, Land Rover BAR wrote: “During the final practice race pre-start of the day, Land Rover BAR bore away behind Emirates Team New Zealand and clipped their inner leeward hull, sustaining limited damage to our starboard bow section. The team are now all working hard to be back out on the water as soon as possible.”