Team NZ making most of limited time left before America’s Cup defence

Team New Zealand are putting each and every day between now and next weekend to use as they try to be as prepared as possible for the challenge that Luna Rossa will pose.

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The Kiwi sailors are trying to maximise their time on the water, weather permitting. Source: 1 NEWS

Everyone wants to know just how fast Te Rehutai is going with Team NZ quietly working away on the AC75 during the Prada Cup, but despite 1 NEWS’ best attempts getting a straight answer proved difficult.

Team NZ grinder Joe Sullivan stepped away from the gears to give 1 NEWS some insight but when it came to the finer details, he remained tight-lipped.

“I’m not sure if we're allowed to say, but we're getting up there now,” Sullivan said when asked how fast the team is going.

“I think we've definitely cracked 50 knots — it's just who can get it to go even further.”

INEOS Team UK – who Luna Rossa eliminated with a convincing 7-1 victory in the Prada Cup final last week – were the first to notch 50 knots in racing but with an extra two months of design and development under their belts, punters expect Team NZ to be capable of more.

At the moment, though, the Kiwis are simply trying to maximise their time on the water, weather permitting.

They're still testing equipment and practising starts and manoeuvres in Te Rehutai.

Sullivan said the grinders, who produce the hydraulic power, say it helps to have a helmsman like Peter Burling who doesn't waste much.

“There's the odd apology but mainly we're just doing our best to give him the options and he doesn't seem to make too many mistakes, which is pretty awesome.”

Sullivan was a “cyclor” in Bermuda and says the work load is similar, but grinders definitely get more of a sense of speed in the AC75s, even with their heads down.

“There's a difference between cracking 50 knots and being comfortable and cracking 50 and being out of control,” he said.

“So hopefully we can be in control and keep it going around the course safely and smoothly and as fast as possible.”