Emirates Team New Zealand’s latest America’s Cup yachting challenger is ready to “fly” after a ceremony at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. The huge, high-speed catamaran known as an AC 72 craft (America’s Cup 72-footer) features a 40-metre high wing-sail featuring similar materials to those used in today’s most modern aircraft.
“Now with the huge wing-sail on the AC 72, the aviation and yachting industries are virtually in concert, using similar materials, similar designs and with similar size,” said Gary Chapman, Emirates’ President Group Services and dnata. “The upright wing on the AC 72 is actually longer than a single span of an Emirates A380 superjumbo wing.”
The next America’s Cup challenger series, for the Louis Vuitton Cup, will be held in San Francisco in July and August 2013, with the America’s Cup match finals in September 2013.
Mr Chapman paid tribute to the “skilled and intrepid crew on board, a whole band of equally talented and adventurous designers behind their computers, and a tireless, dedicated shore crew”. He said that only one word described the sailing crew – “fearless”.
A highlight of the evening ceremony was the appearance of 12 young Emirates Buddies, aged between 10 and 16, alongside the crew members. Chosen by Emirates after a media competition, the buddies will later experience another high point when they join the team for half a day as they undertake training runs with the new craft.
“In many ways our sponsorship of this team epitomises Emirates’ new brand platform, Hello Tomorrow and the philosophy of connecting people through exciting, innovative and shared experiences. Emirates also connects with communities – and the presence here tonight of 12 young New Zealanders, chosen to be Emirates Buddies with crew members is testament to that,” said Mr Chapman.
“These young people, part of New Zealand’s future, not only have this marvellous experience of being here tonight, but they will have the buzz at a later date of spending time with the team, talking with them and watching them in action on the water out there in the gulf, as well as getting to know how a team base works,” continued Mr Chapman.
The sponsorship of the team is also a sign of Emirates’ commitment to New Zealand; as was the airline’s sponsorship last year of the Rugby World Cup (held in New Zealand and won by New Zealand).
“This time next year it will be 10 years since Emirates started flights to New Zealand. We are delighted at the support New Zealanders have given us – we now fly four times a day to Dubai and beyond via Australia; and since 2009 one of those services has been flown by the A380 superjumbo. Bringing that large and comfortable aircraft to New Zealand has also been successful – so much so, that later this year another of our daily services (that via Melbourne) will also become an A380 flight.
“New Zealanders are not only over-achievers when it comes to travel – they excel when it comes to sport, as well. And the fact that New Zealand is lining up once again among the America’s Cup challengers says it all,” Mr Chapman concluded.