The New Zealand Herald has reported that Team New Zealand sailed their newly christened NZL-81, in the Hauraki Gulf for the first time yesterday, but gave no one; not sightseers, not the press, and especially not any of the challengers for the Americas Cup, a peek of the hull as it was towed out of Syndicate Row.
Covered from the deck down in the same black, logo-laden shroud that covered the Kiwis first fourth-generation ACC boat during its recent christening, NZL-81 was towed far out in the Gulf for what was probably the early stages of structural and gear testing. A ban on spying prohibits syndicates from ogling each others boats, but Team New Zealand seems to be taking no chances with their neighbors in the Viaduct Basin.
The Prada Syndicate, which launched and christened their latest boat, ITA-80 Luna Rossa on Wednesday, took a page from Team New Zealand’s playbook and covered their boat from deck to below the waterline as well for a christening ceremony held Wednesday. Whether it’s for psyche factor or to genuinely conceal some new development in hull shape, both teams may have started a trend that other syndicates may wish they’d adopted. People who have seen GBR Challenge’s two boats on the water or in photographs have noted big differences between the two.