As excitement builds around the arrival of the AC40 and the focus on the build at McConaghy Boats, Emirates Team New Zealand’s build facility on Auckland’s North Shore has been running at capacity for the past 8 months building all of the foil arms and appendages that will allow the AC40 to fly. It’s time to discover the appendage factory.
Scott Stokes, the Emirates Team New Zealand Build Facility Manager and project manager of the massive appendage build program has been overseeing the production of the 16 foil arms, 8 rudders and 8 elevators for the fleet of AC40’s. “Obviously, with this new class of 40-footer, our side of the deal was to produce all the 2.9m / 140kg foil arms as well as the rudders and the elevators that go with the rudder. It is a massive task, so at first, we had to prepare ourselves mentally really, to face just the volume of parts needed.”
Since the opening of the team’s bespoke production facility in 2018, along with building the 36th America’s Cup boats; Te Aihe, Te Kahu and Te Rehutai as well as the Hydrogen powered ‘Chase Zero’ and ‘Horonuku’ the Landspeed World Record attempt craft, a core objective for Emirates Team New Zealand has been to continually develop young boat building talent for the team and ultimately the New Zealand marine industry.
The appendage build project for the AC40’s has been great to keep progressing our young boat builders in their roles at our facility. With some of our more experienced guys coming back in we put them in areas to lead some of these projects, then slowly throughout the production we’ve been able to filter some of the younger guys into some leading areas, and it’s worked out nicely. The team has been progressing the build of the appendages swiftly explained Stokes, “Two days ago, we sent out foil arms seven and eight in a box, and that’s with rudder two and the elevator also. Foil arms 9 and 10 are right in the middle of the fairing process, 11 and 12 they’ll be sitting in a jig, and the guys will get around to those and will be assembling them. Then we go further down into the 13 and 14, which are getting the wet wrap already.”
Once each set of foil arms, rudder and elevator are signed off and complete they are packaged up to be sent up to McConaghy Boats where they are matched with their respective steel foil wings and hull, assembled, tested and then repackaged on a bespoke flat rack and sent out as a complete package to their awaiting team.
“So, where we’re sitting is middle of the way there with the arms and probably a little bit over halfway there with the rudder, so it’s quite satisfying to go on the floor, it’s all really heading towards the first of these eight boats. It will be really nice to see the first AC40 land here actually, it’ll be the start of here we go, the start of this next America’s Cup cycle.”