A Perfect 45?

Adopting wing-sailed catamarans, inventing a new tour called the America’s Cup World Series, launching a 45-foot one-design class as a training fleet: none of this could ever have been free of controversy. The 45s went from concept—a trainer for AC sailors and race committee alike—to reality in five months, with the first “batch” of four promised for delivery to challenging teams by April 1.
Author:
Publish date:
ac45.int

Adopting wing-sailed catamarans, inventing a new tour called the America’s Cup World Series, launching a 45-foot one-design class as a training fleet: none of this could ever have been free of controversy. The 45s went from concept—a trainer for AC sailors and race committee alike—to reality in five months, with the first “batch” of four promised for delivery to challenging teams by April 1. Miraculously, the prototype sailed as intended from the moment it hit the water. Former skeptics were soon observing that it tacked as quickly as a monohull and, thanks to the wing, accelerated out of tacks like nothing they had ever seen before.

Top speed so far: a claimed 29.9 knots in a breeze in the high 20s.

With that introduction, one could hope that maybe, just maybe, the huge gamble taken on reinventing the America’s Cup will pay off, that what will come out of this is the viable international circuit that pro sailors have been thirsting for, and which I would argue that the sport has needed for years. Given a few events in AC45s on the World Series tour, the teams should be up the learning curve when the game moves to custom 72-footers on San Francisco Bay in late 2012.

So who will we see this year in the AC45s? Oracle Racing, as the America’s Cup defender, will surely be competitive (though these events do not accrue points toward the 2013 America’s Cup). And given all the hype about a 500 million euro bankroll bidding for a Cup match in Italy, it’s ironic that the Italian challenger of record, Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino, went into 2011 strapped for funds, still seeking sponsorship. So much for the heady days of 2007, when Italy sent three teams to Valencia.

Multihull-crazed France has two teams this time out, headquartered a short distance apart in Paris, on the tony Avenue Foch. The Yacht Club of France, founded in 1867, has carried such celebrated names as Jules Verne and Eric Tabarly on its roster. Lock and Bruno Peyron will head “Energy Challenge,” with AC72s to be built at the Multiplast yard, source of the last two round-the-world record multihulls. Team Aleph, backed by the French Sailing Federation under the direction of Bertrand Pac, formed Aleph Yacht Club for the express purpose of underpinning a challenge. Aleph then rushed down to Bregancon, on the Med, to hold its first “annual regatta on the sea” on a whitecapped day in late November 2010. Don’t worry, they crossed their T’s and dotted their I’s. This one won’t be dragged into court.

Sweden’s Artemis is a known entity from TP52 racing, with Americans Paul Cayard and Terry Hutchinson in charge. And with core Team New Zealand sailors granted access to the prototype 45, do we doubt that the Kiwis are coming out to play? And then there’s that plan for the French-flavored China team to return. San Francisco being the “gateway to the Orient,” with a Chinese-American mayor, doesn’t it almost have to happen?

Related

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more