America's Cup: Team NZ launch new testing boat in preparation for 2024 defence

It's been a month of significant milestones for Team New Zealand, with just under two years to go until their America's Cup defence in Barcelona.

The current holders have all but finalised their team, relocated Auckland bases, and launched their first boat as part of the 2024 campaign. 

"It's been a pretty awesome year for me, being part of Team New Zealand," said Team NZ sailor Nathan Outteridge. 

"Until this week, not a whole lot of action has happened outside the shed, but for me, I've learned a lot about the people within the team.

After spending the last few months vacating their site on Auckland's waterfront, the team have officially relocated to their new home - the former INEOS Team UK base.

"We're now in position here for the next number of years, which is great," said Team NZ chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge. "Feeling really good about getting out on the water."

And just 18 months after executing that successful home defence, the team have their eyes on the prize once again and it's all hands on deck.

"It's been about a year and a half since the cup finished but we never really stopped and the team's almost at full strength now," Shoebridge added. "We've never stopped designing and moving forward.

The launch of the AC40 is critical to the development of the AC75, the boat that they will ultimately take to the water in Barcelona in two years time.

"A lot of design scope still to come, a lot of performance still to come.. and as I said, this boat behind us is the test platform to test a lot of the ideas."

Designer Dan Bernasconi added: "We're just getting into the AC75. The rule has had a few tweaks, mostly the same boat just the next generation on in performance."

During Thursday's testing, the boat reached speeds of just over 30knots but it's more than capable of going well over 40. After some more tweaks, it will eventually be used by the women's and youth America's Cup teams.

Until then, it'll help guide Team NZ through the next campaign in what they hope will be a relatively smooth ride.

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