America’s Cup: New Look, Fresh Start

Although we don’t yet know the venue, we know a good deal more about what the 34th America’s Cup regatta is going to look like following Monday's press conference in Valencia, Spain. First and foremost, it’s going to be aboard 72-foot catamarans with wing sails.Let me say that again: 72-foot catamarans with wing sails.According to officials, the new AC72 class will
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Although we don’t yet know the venue, we know a good deal more about what the 34th America’s Cup regatta is going to look like following Monday's press conference in Valencia, Spain. First and foremost, it’s going to be aboard 72-foot catamarans with wing sails.

Let me say that again: 72-foot catamarans with wing sails.

According to officials, the new AC72 class will regularly attain speeds of 30 knots, “excite fans” as they “zip around the racecourse” and leave their 11-member crews “exhilarated and drained after a day of adrenaline-fueled racing.” I’ll bet!

The next round of Cup competition will also feature an annual World Series starting in 2011, a “youth” America’s Cup starting in 2012, extensive media coverage including on-board cameramen, and a shorter more “action packed” race format. The America’s Cup World Series will be raced aboard a new class of AC45 catamarans, to allow competitors to ramp up their programs as quickly as possible.

The next America’s Cup regatta will take place in 2013, not 2014 as many had speculated.

The new class of America’s Cup catamaran will be governed by a tightly defined “box rule.” Certain parameters have been set, such as overall length, beam, displacement and sail area. Other factors are limited to keep the competition close across all wind speeds. So that no team would have an unfair advantage in creating the rule, US SAILING and Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering were tasked with creating it.


“The AC72 Class adds a new dimension to America’s Cup design and technology,” said Morrelli & Melvin principal Pete Melvin. “The AC72 will place exacting demands on the helmsman, crew and support team that the vast majority of us who call ourselves ‘weekend racers’ could never hope to develop.”

Melvin added that one of the reasons his organization and US SAILING went with a catamaran, as opposed to a trimaran, is because a catamaran will be easier to transport, assemble and disassemble. For a month now, defenders BMW Oracle Racing and the Golden Gate Yacht Club have said that they want to bring down the costs of an America’s Cup campaign.

“The difference in the performance characteristics is not significant, and a cat was judged less expensive to build. From there, the experience of two America’s Cups in which wingsails were used (1988 and 2010), coupled with the latest developments in wingsail technology, made it natural to morph the design rule into a catamaran with a wingsail,” said Melvin.

AC72 approximate dimensions:

LOA - 22.0 meters (72 feet)

Beam - 14.0 meters (46 feet)

Displacement - 7,000 kilograms (15,500 pounds)

Wingsail area – 300 square meters (3,229 square feet)

The AC72 will be able to fly a hull in 5 to 6 knots true windspeed. The target boatspeeds in winds under 10 knots were set at 1.2 times the true windspeed upwind and 1.6 times true windspeed downwind.

High speeds are derived from enormous power. The AC72 has a righting moment of approximately 60-ton-meters. Determining the sail plan dimensions was difficult because the boat has to be powerful in light winds and not overpowered in stronger winds.

“It’s been challenging to have the cat fully powered-up and flying a hull in light winds, yet also able to sail in 30 knots,” Melvin said. “We put a lot of time and effort into sizing the wingsail and the platform dimensions in order to sail in that full range.”

The height of the wingsail will be approximately 40 meters (130 feet) with a maximum chord length between 10 and 11 meters (32 and 36 feet).

For more on the recent America’s Cup announcement, click here.

Related

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more