'We've become huge, powerful beasts' - Kiwi cyclist confident Team NZ's new pedal power innovation will lead to America's Cup success

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Using pedal power to work the hydraulics on Team New Zealand's America's Cup yacht is another step in the way the country has shaken up the world's most prestigious sailing event, boss Grant Dalton says.

Cup holders Oracle launched their boat today but showed no signs they will be following NZ's new innovation.
Source: 1 NEWS

Team New Zealand launched their AC50 foiling catamaran in Auckland yesterday, with the most obvious talking point the four cycling grinding stations - dubbed 'pedalstals' - on each hull.

Manual winch-operating grinders traditionally use their arms to turn the handles that provide hydraulic pressure to allow the sailors to control the enormous wingsail and dagger boards.

"From its beginning with Plastic Fantastic in 1987 to the introduction of foils in San Francisco, the team has always reshaped the America's Cup and the boat we are christening today is introducing revolutionary concepts once again," Dalton said at the boat's launch.

Team NZ's CEO Grant Dalton says a lot of their opposition have doubts about the new innovations they have made with their yacht.
Source: 1 NEWS

"This is a really proud day for the team collectively. The campaign always just gets real when you launch the actual boat that you hope will be the one to win the America's Cup back for New Zealand."

Team NZ crew triallist Simon van Velthooven says its been a big learning curve for both him and his new teammates as they share cycling and sailing knowledge to each other, but results are coming.

"Their numbers have improved exponentially and so have mine. We've become huge, powerful beasts with endurance."

Whether the innovation will give New Zealand an edge at this year's America’s Cup in Bermuda is yet to be seen.
Source: 1 NEWS

Former Team New Zealand helmsman Dean Barker, who now heads Japan's challenge, and Oracle's James Spithill have played down the significance of the design.

Both said their teams had also considered it but discounted the option because the additional power generated would be negated by the need for the grinders to move quickly, and constantly, across the boats.

Team New Zealand design co-ordinator Dan Bernasconi said they had been working on trying to overcome any issues.

1 NEWS today gained exclusive access to see what could provide Team NZ with a critical edge in the America’s Cup.

"When we sat down to think about the overall design of this boat three years ago the benefits of cycling opposed to regular grinding were obvious, but certainly not without issues and difficulty with functionality.

"This is what we have been working incredibly hard on overcoming."

Team New Zealand's history of radical innovations in the event is well known and they were even accused of cheating when they produced a fibreglass, instead of aluminium, boat for the 1987 regatta in Fremantle.

Prior to the last event in 2013, they were also the first syndicate to lift the larger AC-72 catamaran's hulls out of the water allowing it to 'foil'.

That revelation, however, was several months before the regatta, allowing other syndicates to modify their boats and learn how to control them, most notably when Oracle produced a remarkable comeback from 8-1 down to retain the Cup 9-8.

The team will spend the next month testing in Auckland before the boat is shipped to Bermuda ahead of the first race in the challengers' series on May 26.

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