Team NZ put weights before water
Fri, 22 Jun 2012 6:49p.m.
By Greg Pearson
Team New Zealand are about to head to the United States for the final America's Cup World Series Regatta of the season.
The Kiwis are second in the standings but their main focus is shifting to their new AC72 catamaran.
With the boat still under construction, it's hard work knowing just what it'll take to sail it.
David Slyfield's not part of the sailing team or one of the designers, but his job is one of Team New Zealand's most important.
As trainer, Slyfield's tasked with getting the team shipshape to sail the new 72-foot catamarans that will contest the Cup next year, a tough job when the first of the new class of boat is still to hit the water.
“We've had our team model what they think it's going to look like, but we know the modelling will only be part way there, the philosophy I've been working to is we're probably about two thirds right, guessing what it's like, after three days sailing we'll learn a whole lot of new stuff and adapt,” says Slyfield.
Without an actual boat to sail, Slyfield has to rely on how the designers think it will perform.
So instead of time on the water, it's time in the gym.
“[It’s a] world of pain, nah it’s all really exciting, it's going to be a lot of fun. Speeds are going to be amazing but we know they're going to be long, long days and a hell of a lot of hard work,” says grinder Winston Macfarlane.
As a grinder, Macfarlane will be one of the hardest working onboard, but with crew numbers reduced from 17 to 11 for the new boats, everyone will have to pull their weight.
“The boats, they're described as ‘maneaters’, and you as a person will be found out, you as a team will be found out if you're not good enough. So they know the challenge in front of them and they've really stepped up to it,” says trainer Slyfield.
Even the afterguard who used to have it easy at the back of the boat.
“Yeah, it'll be good when the shoes on the other foot, I think we'll have to have a turn at some point. But it's good, it's good to mix it up, you never quite know what's around the corner,” says Skipper Dean Barker.
They'll get an idea of just what when the first of Team New Zealand's AC72s hits the water in mid July.
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