America’s Cup: Pete Melvin reveals a glimpse of the new Class Rule

Published on February 17th, 2014

For the 34th America’s Cup, American Pete Melvin’s design firm, Morrelli & Melvin, were the lead designers in writing the America’s Cup class rule for the AC72 catamaran.

Melvin has again been hired by the Defender and Challenger of Record of the 35th America’s Cup and tasked with coming up with the class rule for a second consecutive time.

Motivated to reduce budget costs, yet still intending to design a foiling catamaran of similar to the AC72, the new class rule is expected to be released in March, 2014.

In an interview at the A-Class World Championship, Melvin offered a glimpse of what to expect. Here are some of the bullet points:

* Adjustable rudder angle: The AC72 restricted active adjustment of the rudder angle while sailing, which affected foiling efficiency. The new class of boat will allow active adjustment, which will improve foiling ability both upwind and downwind.

* Stored energy: The AC72 allowed no stored energy, and while all systems were human powered, there were peak times on the race course when the grinders were heavily taxed. It is expected the new boat again will again rely solely on human power for the systems, but there may be a provision wherein some power can be held in reserve to lessen the peak periods.

* Manpower: The class of boat is to be in the 60-65 foot range, which will reduce the crew needed to sail it, and the shore team required to launch and service it. Fewer people needed should reduce team budgets.

* Performance: The design brief was for the new class to be no slower than 10% of the AC72 speeds. Tests indicate the new class could be similar in speeds downwind as the AC72, but a bit slower upwind. Melvin expects the speed difference to be visually difficult to discern, and the new class may even appear faster given its smaller size.

* Foiling: Expect the new class to foil both upwind and downwind.

* One Design: In the interest of cost savings, it is likely the wing will have some one design restriction. Of the major components, it is believed the wing provided the least amount of performance gain per dollar spent on design and construction. It is believed that the hull and foil systems will remain open and restricted only by the class rule.

Here is the video…

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