America's Cup update


All you need to know about activity in Auckland from 1 October
With just over three weeks remaining before the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup, all of the challengers are well into what can best described as the final preparations phase and the Viaduct Basin in Auckland is a hive of activity. This is the period of the campaign when there is never enough time - each team will be wishing they had another week to make the boat faster, more sessions to get the crew work tighter, the sail development more advanced, or additional time in the gym so that the grinders are stronger. The exception to the rule is Oracle BMW Racing who gave the sailing team the first week in September off. Over the past several weeks all nine of the Challengers have arrived in Auckland, either returning from Northern Hemisphere summers, or setting up in New Zealand for the first time. All but one of the teams have built two new boats for the series in an effort to advance through the Louis Vuitton Cup and win an opportunity to meet Team New Zealand at the 31st America's Cup Match in February, 2003. Two-boat training is an integral part of maximising boatspeed, and all of the teams are now putting in hard hours on the Hauraki Gulf, braving the early spring winds and water to find that extra fraction of speed that might be enough to give them a little edge. The format of the Louis Vuitton Cup is designed to produce the strongest possible Challenger. The first two Round Robins, sailed in October, will eliminate one team, and rank the remaining eight. The top teams that consistently win will have more time for in-house testing and development, whilst the bottom teams spend more time racing each other in an effort to remain in the tournament. Over the

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