A few thousand well-wishers packed out Auckland's Viaduct Harbour this evening for the official launch of New Zealand's hope for the America's Cup.
Team New Zealand's AC72 catamaran was christened "New Zealand" in the hope it can bring back sailing's oldest trophy for the benefit of the whole country.
Team manager Grant Dalton told ONE News the boat should be capable of some impressive speeds.
"We reckon we could do over 40 knots which is about 80 km/h and I think it's going to be terrifying," he said.
A large crowd turned out to the harbour to get a first glimpse of the vessel on the water and were treated to a fireworks display after the traditional bottle breaking ceremony.
Dalton said fans will get the first chance to see the boat in action later this week, or possibly the week after depending on the weather.
"From the launching tonight we'll get into sailing and we're about five days from that and then it's a slow work up but we'll stay here until May next year when we'll decamp to San Francisco," he said.
Around $34 million of public money has been spent on the boat. Prime Minister John Key, who was also at the launch, said the money can be viewed as an investment for the country.
"It's a great opportunity to showcase the engineering the design capability here in New Zealand. This is a great team of sailors but it's also a great way to show we're really creative and smart down here in New Zealand."
The marine industry is estimated to be worth around $1.7 billion and employs more than 10,000 people.
The sector is aiming to grow to $2.6 billion by 2015 and has the support of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).
It received a further boost recently with the news that America's Cup defending champions Oracle Racing will be building most of its AC72 catamaran in Warkworth.
The 34th America's Cup will see Oracle taking on the successful winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger series.
The Challenger series and the America's Cup Finals will take place in San Francisco, in 2013.