Andy Maloney is gearing up to sail in the next America’s Cup regatta hosted here in Auckland in March. Andy is from the Shore, hailing from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club and has spent most of his life sailing in the Laser class. He was part of the victorious New Zealand Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Team in 2013 and joined Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team in 2016 for the 35th America’s Cup and was a key member of the winning crew. He's again part of the Emirates Team New Zealand crew for the 36th America’s Cup and defence of the auld mug early next year. In early 2020 he was preparing for the Olympics in Tokyo ahead of the America’s Cup, but plans changed like many others this year due to the pandemic. Andy chats to Channel Mag's Aidan Bennett about the build-up for the Cup, his career in sailing and pivoting in 2020!
AIDAN BENNETT: How’s the build-up to the America’s Cup going for you and the team?
ANDY MALONEY: The build-up is flying by. We’re happy with the decisions we’ve made along the way as a team. Everyone is putting in a huge effort right now as we launch our race boat (boat two) and that’s really exciting. In December we’ll be racing the Christmas Cup, which is key for us as it will be our only real racing we do before the America’s Cup itself in March.
AB: This is your second America’s Cup; how does the build up compare with the first one?
AM: Last Cup I was super fortunate to join the team only a year out from racing in Bermuda. It was a whirlwind experience and I just took it all on with a real focus on being able to execute my role on the boat. I was new to the high speed, foiling boats and it was an exciting, steep learning curve. This time, being involved from the start and through the entire development and design phase has been awesome; it’s given me a much better understanding of why certain paths have been chosen and key decisions that have been made.
AB: What does it mean to you to have the America’s Cup happening in your home city?
AM: It’s pretty cool to see it all coming together here in Auckland. It’s going to be fun racing in front of all of our friends, family and supporters here in New Zealand. It’s going to be special racing the Cup on the same waters we’ve grown up training on.
AB: 2020 has been a different sort of year hasn’t it? How has the year changed your plans?
AM: A lot has changed this year. Like everyone else, we’ve had to be pretty flexible with our plans. For myself, we obviously experienced the same Level Four lockdown that the rest of New Zealand did. I used that time to make some good fitness gains on the grinding machine and refresh a little bit as well. Josh Junior and myself had a few trips planned overseas competing in the Finn Olympic class dinghy which all got put on hold in March, a week before we were about to fly out to Spain. Now we are looking forward to the Olympic Games being held in 2021.
AB: What do your summer plans look like?
AM: With boat two just launching, it’s going to be all about sailing. Learning our race boat inside and out, perfecting our manoeuvres and getting ready to defend the Cup in March.
AB: What do you enjoy doing away from sailing?
AM: Hanging out with family and friends. Heading to the beach for a stroll or if there’s time I really like getting out on the Gulf on a day off.
AB: Favourite place to sail and why?
AM: I’d have to say Auckland. You can sail off the North Shore or in the Harbour and get the full range of conditions. I enjoy sailing on the Hauraki Gulf the most though; the northern side of Rangitoto is a pretty cool piece of water.
AB: Favourite local shore spot and why?
AM: I enjoy the Milford to Takapuna coastal walk. It’s pretty relaxing on a Sunday to stroll along there and see the Gulf, plus it’s flat so I don’t get too tired on a day off!
AB: Do you have any advice for young Shore people with sailing and America’s Cup ambitions?
AM: Just enjoy sailing with your mates and see where it takes you. Keep trying to learn as much as you can along the way.
Good luck for the America’s Cup Regatta Andy and ETNZ from the Channel Mag team and all our readers!