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Sailing: America’s Cup holders Team New Zealand launch second boat 

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – America’s Cup defenders Team New Zealand launched their second high speed AC75 foiling monohull on Thursday, the boat they hope will help them retain the sport’s oldest trophy early next year.

Team NZ are the last syndicate to launch their second-generation yacht, with the challenging teams from Italy, Britain and the United States all launching their boats last month.

The boat, named ‘Te Rehutai’, was launched at a glitzy ceremony outside the team’s base and broadcast live on Television New Zealand’s prime-time news programme.

“What you see is a combination of a lot of hard work over the last couple of years,” Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling told TVNZ.

“We have definitely focused in on areas where we wanted to make some big gains and what you see there is a pretty aggressive design.

“It’s our intention to get out there tomorrow and see how it goes.”

Team NZ have not been on the water for more than a month.

Teams were allowed to build two yachts for the regatta, with first-generation boats used for development.

Te Rehutai was significantly different from their first boat ‘Te Aihe’, with a far more pronounced longitudinal keel, similar to the one unveiled by INEOS Team UK on their second-generation ‘Britannia’ yacht.

Former professional sailor Mark Orams told Reuters last month a longitudinal keel helped reduced wind drag under the hull when it was foiling indicating they wanted to sail as close as possible to the surface of the water.

Team NZ design head Dan Bernasconi, however, said there was still plenty more to come from the holders.

“We have seen in the last few Cups that you can’t rest on your laurels, deliver a boat and put your feet up,” Bernasconi told TVNZ.

“Its the team that keeps developing all the way to the end that has the advantage.”

All four teams are due to race against each other next month at a warmup regatta before the challengers begin their series in January, with the winner taking on Team NZ in the America’s Cup in March.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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