WELLINGTON (Reuters) - America's Cup defenders Team New Zealand are confident their second generation AC75 foiling monohull 'Te Rehutai' is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 50 knots (92.8 kph) when they begin their trails with the new boat later on Friday.
Team NZ launched the boat on Thursday, more than a month later than the three challenging syndicates from the United States, Italy and Britain, who have been training with their second generation boats since late October.
"Hopefully well over 50 knots," Team NZ skipper Glenn Ashby told Stuff Media on Friday about what speed he expected the boat to reach when it was foiling.
"We've taken a pretty big step, we've gone into areas where other teams haven't delved into ... it's very, very different to a lot of the other teams.
"Hopefully that will work out okay for us."
Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling said at the boat's launch on Thursday they expected to begin training with the yacht on Friday as they ramped up preparations for a warmup regatta involving all four teams next month.
He also felt the designers had taken a lot of their first generation yacht 'Te Aihe' and made some dramatic changes in a bid to ensure they retain sport's oldest trophy.
"With boat one you definitely felt you took a lot of risk at times, but also it was quite conservative in some aspects," Burling told Stuff.
"Whereas with this boat every bit of it has been optimised, every bit of it has been thought out, and we've had the time to do that.
"It's exciting now, we've got a pretty cool bit of kit now."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)