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Emirates team New Zealand women & youth sailors begin on water AC40 training

Emirates Team New Zealand’s Women and Youth sailors have begun their on water training onboard the one design AC40 ‘Te Kākahi’ in fresh conditions on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour this week in preparation for the Puig Women’s America’s Cup and UniCredit Youth America’s Cup later this year.

With a number of the women & youth team members away with Olympic sailing and other committments, Gemma Jones and Oscar Gunn got their first taste of sailing the AC40 for real after spending countless hours over the previous few months preparing indoors surrounded by computer screens practicing with the simulator and game.

“It is so exciting.” said Gemma Jones. “We’ve been working the simulator a lot, so we got used to how it reacts there. At first we’re like, oh, that trims really fast or oh, not as fast, but getting used to how it all moves and just got better and better, which is really fun.”


Oscar Gunn, like Gemma Jones was in the trimming role onboard today also getting used to the intricacies of sailing the AC40 for real.

“It was pretty unreal actually getting the feel of the boat. In the simulator you can play all the controls and watch it on the screen, but you just don’t get the feeling blasting along. It was a pretty breezy session, it was epic.” said Gunn.

Jones and Gunn were also joined by Liv Mackay and Leonard Takahashi who were back out refamiliarising themselves with the AC40 having previously sailed onboard Te Kākahi last year.

“Getting on the water is a huge step forward for the women’s team.” explained Mackay. Gemma and I were both sailing on board with Josh and Marcus, for me it all came back pretty quickly from my sailing last year and Gemma was doing an awesome job straight off. So it’s a really exciting time, we can’t wait for more.”


Josh Junior who has been integral to the selection and development of both womens & youth crews has been onboard helping the sailors get up to speed on the AC40 in what have been quite fresh 17-20 knot winds.

“They’ve been spending a lot of time in the simulator and its clear that all that work has been really paying off as they were handling the boat really well.” said Junior.


“We’ll slowly build up with the crews, obviously we don’t want to just throw them all on the boat at once. But as everyone gains more confidence and with all the training they’ve done on the simulator, they’ll be out there on their own soon enough.”

Each day on the water, getting time on the AC40’s for the sailors is all vital training that the Women & Youth teams from 12 different countries will become increasingly hungry for in the lead up to their highly anticipated events in September and October in Barcelona.