AUCKLAND (#1166) – Seven months after announcing it would build its own boats for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021, defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand has revealed details of its new boatyard on Auckland’s North Shore. The Kiwis announced on Wednesday New Zealand time that it has begun construction of its first AC75 at the 1,800-square meter (19,375-square foot) boatyard that has been a long-term vision of the team.
The Kiwis were forced to build their own yard after its previous builder, Cookson Boats, went out of business. Sean Regan, ETNZ’s build operations manager, said the Kiwis turned a clean factory floor into one of the most modern, purpose-built composite boat building facilities in the country.
“As with everything in the America’s Cup, time is of the essence and in setting up the build facility we basically gave ourselves two months from the day we took over the lease of the premises to be ready to start building our first boat.” Regan said.
The team sought feedback from some of the industry’s best boatbuilders as well as many of its suppliers.
“We really approached this setup with an open mind along with our typical number 8 wire thinking. We looked at the clean floor plan and thought about everything in terms of the production of the most technically advanced composite race yacht. From the layout of the three ovens, the heating, extraction, air conditioning, lighting, storage, lifting, access etc.”
With the yard set up, the 40 boat builders have begun the task of turning out the first of two foiling monohulls.
“We have been able to assemble a mixed group of specialist boat building veterans _ a number of whom were the key core people from Cookson’s Boats, existing Emirates Team New Zealand shore crew and a bunch of hungry young apprentices,” Regan said. “These guys are really working well together and growing the wider experience in the industry by the day, which is very satisfying for everyone. The beauty of winning the America’s Cup and bringing it back to New Zealand is it gives us the ability to try to re-stimulate what has been a stagnant or declining industry over the past few years.”
The boat is expected to emerge from the yard toward the middle of the year.
“Call me biased but I think we have put together one of the best composite boat building facilities in New Zealand, and hope that it will serve the team well for AC36, but also the wider marine industry on projects outside of the America’s Cup.” Regan said.
More in the video below, released by the team today. And if you missed our TFE LIVE today with special guest Richard Gladwell (NZL editor of Sail-World) live via Skype from Auckland, watch a replay here.