Sailing: Team New Zealand retire America's Cup-winning boat Te Rehutai as development programme reaches next stage

Te Rehutai is towed back to port after winning the 2021 America's Cup.
Te Rehutai is towed back to port after winning the 2021 America's Cup. Photo credit: Photosport

Emirates Team New Zealand have officially retired the boat that helped them defend the America's Cup off Auckland in 2021.

Foiling monohull 'Te Rehutai' - meaning 'sea spray' - was launched in November 2020 and won the America's Cup world series regatta against the three challengers - Ineos Team UK, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli of Italy and American Magic - losing just one of its six races to the New York Yacht Club entry.

In the 36th America's Cup, the Kiwis overcame Luna Rossa 7-3 in the first-to-seven series, sailed under COVID-19 protocols.

Since then, Team NZ have used the boat as an integral part of their development programme towards their next defence at Barcelona next October.

"Te Rehutai has been amazing to us," said coach Ray Davies. "We have really put her through the paces.

"A couple of years ago, people wouldn't have thought what we are now doing was doable in foiling boats, but now we're sailing around in two-metre swells in Barcelona. It's really awesome."

Since contesting the first preliminary regatta off the coast south of Barcelona in September, Team NZ have been testing in conditions expected for the America's Cup window in 12 months.

As Mediterranean days grow shorter, the Kiwis are returning to Auckland to maximise their time on the water, before the second preliminary regatta at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, raced in smaller AC40 designs.

Team NZ celebrate their 2021 America's Cup defence.
Team NZ celebrate their 2021 America's Cup defence. Photo credit: Photosport

By the time they return to Barcelona, Team NZ expect to have 'boat three' of their development programme completed.

"Our sailing block has come to an end here in Barcelona, before we start sailing again next year here," said chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge. "We'll leave Te Rehutai here in Barcelona...

"You never know, but it has been an absolute workhorse for us. We have had some great sailing on that boat, some great results, but it is time to move on."