Just returned from a couple of weeks in NZ (by air, not boat) and had a great time. One of the things we did was go out for a few hours in an America's Cup boat. This was built for a failed German campaign and was used by the Kiwis as a training boat. The changes made for the tourists are: a much smaller jib
, a fairly small asymmetric and the boat now has an engine for getting in and out.
These are incredible machines. The carbon fibre hull weighs 790 kg (it is 80 feet long!). Total displacement is 25 tons, of which 20 tons are in the keel bulb. The mainsail is something like 2450 square feet and there were 8 of us (not all young and strong) on the coffee grinders to hoist it - near the top it was getting very heavy indeed. The mast is 104' high. With a full genoa the tacking angle is 20° true which is incredible. We did about ten tacks up the harbor (at times to avoid races) and came back with the asymmetric. Not much wind, perhaps 8 to 10 knots at most, but we were doing around 7 1/2 on the windward legs. The helm is interesting. The wheel has a very large diameter that fits really well in your hand. It feels quite heavy, but is very precise. To adjust course you only need to turn the wheel perhaps 2" and you get a significant course change.
Lots of fun things to do in NZ, but they tend to be pricey. Many places to jump out of airplanes and off bridges and the like - we skipped those. We took a helicopter up to the top of a glacier, abseiled into a cave and explored, and even made a knife starting with a hunk of nasty, black steel. Always wanted to try blacksmithing.