Emirates Team New Zealand christens Te Rehutai

The team’s vessel will be used to defend New Zealand’s America’s Cup title.

NEW ZEALAND—Emirates New Zealand christened Te Rehutai, its second generation AC75 on Nov. 19; Te Rehutai will be the boat the team races to defend its title in the 36th America’s Cup.

Te Rehutai was reportedly blessed and christened in front of a crowd of about 900 people.

Taiaha Hawke of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, during the christening ceremony, explained the significance behind the vessel’s name.

“Te Rehutai: Where the essence of the ocean invigorates and energises our strength and determination,” Hawke said.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei named both of Te Rehutai’s predecessors, according to a statement released by America’s Cup staff. The predecessors were named Te Aihe and Te Kāhu.

“This time we came up with some options to present to the team so they could come together collectively to decide on a name they felt resonated best with them as a team and clearly Te Rehutai struck a chord with them,” Hawke said.

Each of the boats of the 36th America’s Cup are now on display; Te Rehutai was reportedly the last of the second generation AC75s to be launched amongst the teams competing in next year’s race.

The launch of Te Rehutai was a long time coming, according to Emirates New Zealand COO Kevin Shoebridge.

“We had our launch date for our race boat in the calendar for probably close to a year. So, it really is a huge feat that we are here launching Te Rehutai today considering we lost 5 weeks of build time in the first COVID-19 lock down,” Shoebridge said. “That is an extraordinary effort, which we haven’t ever experienced before as a team. I can’t speak highly enough of the skill and determination that the team at our build facility have shown under exceptionally challenging circumstances for not only them but our suppliers, sponsors and everyone that has contributed.”

Members of Emirates Team New Zealand have been off the water for a few weeks prior to the christening. But skipper Peter Burling said he and his teammates have been itching to put Te Rehutai to the test.

“The guys are eager to get out on the water again,” Burling said. “The designers and boat builders have done their jobs, now it is time for the sailing team do to ours. The pressure is on for sure, but that’s where we are most comfortable so we can’t wait to race.”

The 36th America’s Cup is scheduled for March 6-21, 2021 – roughly 100 days after the publication of this issue. It remains to be seen whether restrictions associated with Covid-19 will have any bearing on the race.

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