New Zealand - A History of Innovation

June 29, 2017

High performance catamarans

It takes more than great sailors to win the Americas Cup, although you need those too.


The AC is always won by the fastest boat, it’s an old cliche, but it’s true.  To be the best you need to be a leader in your field, not a follower.  Sometimes the ideas and innovations will work out, sometimes they won’t.  You need to be undaunted by the past failures.


New Zealand teams have always been fearless in design.

For the 1987 Americas Cup in Fremantle, the New Zealand team, making their debut, were the only team to build boats from fibreglass.  As Dennis Conner famously stated “why would anyone want to build a boat of fibreglass unless they wanted to cheat?” (they weren’t).  For the 1991 Americas Cup, New Zealand built a lightweight, beamy boat with a bowsprit.  Again, thinking outside the box, but not down the winning design path.  It wasn’t until 1995 when Peter Blake and Russell Coutts put a team together that mastered the design rule at the time.  Then there was the “hula” from 2003, again very creative but not the winning design ticket!  For 2013 the kiwis managed to get their catamaran up in the air foiling, inside a design rule where the boats weren’t meant to foil!  Unfortunately, the cat was let out of the bag early enough for the other teams to copy them.


For the 2017 Americas Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand really threw the door wide open and let the ideas flow.  Is there any point in being conservative in the AC design world?  The team was down in NZ testing by themselves (along with Oracle spies!), quietly working on their inventions.  They were innovative in their approach and in every detail on the boat.  From foils to oil management to wing control and probably so many other things not even visible, they led the way.


True Kit congratulates this outstanding achievement, pushing through barriers and searching for excellence.  The New Zealand marine industry is often seen as a leader in field and Emirates Team New Zealand are showing the way.  Well done.

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