It is not so much a triumphant homecoming from Europe for the Emirates Team New Zealand AC75 Te Aihe, rather a low key but very welcome return in the dark hours of Tuesday morning.
Having been in a state of transit since leaving the team’s viaduct base on Sunday 2 February, its last sailing day on the Auckland harbour was 15 January. How the world has changed since then.
In that time, Te Aihe – and 16 containers storing workshops, chase boats and everything an America’s Cup team would need to work remotely in Cagliari and Portsmouth – has been packed and shipped to Italy and back without so much as the seals being broken.
They have travelled on four ships, visited 15 ports, including loading on and off in Tauranga, transhipped in Singapore each way and been loaded off and on in Gioia Tauro, Italy.
Te Aihe was transported by road from Tauranga back to the Emirates Team New Zealand base, arriving to a small welcome party of Andy Nottage, Jack Taylor and James Graham, before returning to its shed in preparation for sailing in the weeks ahead.
“It’s good to see her back sooner than expected,” said Emirates Team New Zealand logistics manager Andy Nottage, who has successfully managed to juggle the fluid timeframes and shipping schedules to keep track and control of the precious shipment.
She has been on quite the adventure, but it is good to have her home in one piece thanks largely to the ongoing support of Maersk.
“One positive is that everything was sent away in a relative state of readiness to go sailing quickly in Cagliari. That should mean it’s not too long before we get her back out sailing on the Hauraki Gulf again.”
“We have had some new components and systems that were ready for the ACWS racing, so the guys are chomping at the bit to get back out and test the new setups, continuing our developments and obviously making up for lost time.”