America's Cup 2021: Team New Zealand begin first official practice

For the first time ever, the AC75s which will compete for the America's Cup have lined up against one another on the water.

Tuesday was the first of several practice days and a chance for not only the teams, but the race officials, to see what it's like when the foiling monohulls go head to head.

In perfect racing conditions, Team New Zealand and American Magic were first up, duelling for over half an hour.

AUT's sailing professor Mark Orams says after months of testing on their own, the teams are ready to push the boundaries.

"They need to stay icy cool because the decision making must be fighter-pilot style," Oram tells Newshub.

"The red mist cannot be a part of decision making, or things can go bad."

Despite that temptation, there were cool heads.

And now it's not just about how fast you can go, but race management as well.

"The boundaries on the course will come up really quickly," Orams says. 

"The boats are so fast that tactically they're going to make sure they don't get pushed into a corner .. or if you're wanting to get an advantage, try and push your opponent into the corner."

And it hasn't just got sailing fans salivating. 

Jonny Edgar and his dad Phil custom-built their 12-metre 'Machina' specifically for America's Cup charters.

"This was tailored for this event  so we can get really up close and personal," says Edgar.

With 600 horsepower and a top speed of 45 knots, it's almost enough to keep up with the AC75s.

But when international tourists were shut out because of COVID-19,. they were worried they'd be left dead in the water.

"Kiwis are really getting behind and backing kiwi companies.. and there's enough support to keep businesses like ourselves going," he adds.

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