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Oracle Team USA, more Kiwi than you think

When racing resumes on Saturday for the 35th America’s Cup Match, Kiwi crewmembers won’t be the only thing made in New Zealand on the water. Both Emirates Team New Zealand’s and Oracle Team USA’s boats were built to a large degree in New Zealand by New Zealand craftsmen, with New Zealand boatbuilders still working in both camps. With new protocol around the 35th America’s Cup reducing the constructed in country requirement to just a 10ft section of the bow to be built in the country of the challenging or defending club, the way was clear for teams to hunt out the best boatbuilders around the world. Both challengers and defender looked to New Zealand to find them.

“The New Zealand marine industry has benefitted hugely from the new one-design rule, which allows components to be made in any country as they’re outside the country of nationality rules. This significant change to the rules meant that the teams were free to build their yachts and source the best products anywhere in the world,” says Peter Busfield, executive director of the NZ Marine Industry Association.

“New Zealand companies were then able to compete for the work of teams outside New Zealand, and our reputation as the world’s best boatbuilders came to the fore.”

“We were delighted that Oracle Team USA chose to build their AC50 in New Zealand.” That reputation comes largely from a unique training programme in New Zealand that is seeing Kiwis set the bar for composite work. The NZ Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation has developed a boatbuilding training programme that’s steadily producing the most innovative marine craftsmen in the world, with graduates on both the Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand boat building teams.

World-renowned Auckland-based, Southern Spars built the hull and wing for Emirates Team New Zealand. Further north in Warkworth, Core Builders Composites, in addition to building Oracle Team USA, produced other components for teams including SoftBank Team Japan and Emirates Team New Zealand.

Other New Zealand companies at the forefront in the innovation of the AC50’s

include C-Tech and Cookson Boats.

Southern Spars, C-Tech, Core Builders, Cookson and other NZ Marine Industry Association members supplied sets of hull, deck, bow, pod and beam tooling, with all moulds and tools carefully designed to ensure parts were identical and in line with one-design rules. Three AC50 complete platforms, and an additional set of beams, plus a centreline pod were exported to teams overseas, along with 18 dagger foils, rudders, wings, tips, fairings, and other parts.

The same boatbuilding expertise is available throughout the country for race yachts, superyacht new build and refits, trailer powerboats, tenders and equipment for all types of recreational and commercial vessels, and the spotlight the America’s Cup has shone on Kiwi innovation has been welcomed by the local industry. Busfield is currently in Palma promoting that same New Zealand marine expertise, at the Superyacht Cup Palma with the New Zealand Ambassador to Spain, H.E. Andrew Jenks. From there, he’ll journey to Bermuda this weekend to promote New Zealand as a superyacht destination and profile New Zealand marine companies. With New Zealand-trained boatbuilders leading the world in innovation, there’s never been a better time to be in a Kiwi-built boat on the water.

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