New Zealand Cup cat makes its debut

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America’s Cup syndicate Emirates Team New Zealand sailed its AC72 catamaran for the first time Tuesday. It’s the first AC72 to hit the water and the first of the new Cup cats to sail.

Sailing was delayed several times as team meteorologist Roger Badham monitored weather radar and computer models. At 1 p.m. — in cold, wet Auckland winter conditions — the big cat was towed out in Auckland Harbor and did not return to base until after dark.

“It is good to get the first sail under our belt,” Grant Dalton said in a statement. “Overall, the weather could have been better, but the wind was ideal for a first sail. It’s what we had waited for.”

Until the end of next January, teams are permitted only 30 sailing days in the AC72. A sailing day is defined as the yacht releasing the tow for five minutes.

Click here for the full release and images of Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC72.

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