America’s Cup: Let the testing begin

Published on February 17th, 2015

by Erik Simonson, Pressure Drop
The America’s Cup may have left San Francisco Bay, but not all the teams have. Both defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Artemis Racing are on the water training in new 45-foot test platforms.

“We knew it was a weapon when it was on the drawing board, and it certainly has lived up to those expectations thus far,” says Adam May, Design Coordinator with Artemis Racing. “We call it the AC 45 Turbo, a scaled down version of what we think our AC 62 will be.”

The AC 45 Turbo is not what will be competing in the America’s Cup World Series. Those boats will all be AC 45s with production foil appendages, mechanical conveyances and assorted packages all provided to the teams to keep it a one design competition.

The noticeable difference between the AC 45F, as they are referred to, and the AC 45 Turbo is the later has steering wheels, custom cockpits, and updated consoles.

So why bother with the AC 45 Turbo? “It’s quite simple,” says Pete Melvin of Morelli & Melvin, who assisted in writing the rule for the new AC 62. “They can replicate the thoughts and mechanics of the intended designs at much lesser cost and get the design right before committing to the much more expensive 62.”

When asked if there is an area of great importance with a tiller versus the wheel for the scaled down Turbos, Pete noted how “the immediate feedback after rounding the weather mark, adjusting the rake and attitude of the rudder is critical. Dialing those things in will be keen for success of the crews in the bigger boats.”

Artemis has been taking it slow and gradual with their immersion with the Turbo unit, and the crews are understandably excited every time they get to sail. Mimicking the conditions expected in Bermuda is a goal, and San Francisco Bay in the winter does assist in finding the 10-12 knot wind range and flat seas ideal for that.

“Even in the summer time,” noted May, “the South Bay is right outside our base and can offer conditions ideal for replicating what we expect (12-18 knots) in Bermuda, and to that end we could not be happier.”

The AC 45 Turbo has been tested with a crew of 5, and when queried with the fit of the new coamings and the crews ability to get in and out of them while making maneuvers, and elbow room to do grinding, etc, May indicates “the whole layout was well thought out in advance, and while you can’t miniaturize the crew, you can organize things to be efficient and fluid.”

While the defender will be moving to Bermuda by May, Artemis Racing will remain at their Alameda Base for now. “We discussed our options when the various locations for the AC finals were being decided, and this location with the pleasant weather, large hanger and easy access to the water is fantastic. We could not be happier.”

When asked if they plan on any side by side testing with Oracle Team USA, which has recently launched a strikingly similar AC 45 Turbo platform, May indicated that there were no solid plans at this point.

As far as delivery date for the AC 62, May will not yet commit. “We have target windows on the schedule, but it’s a moving target which will be determined by what we learn with the current testing on the AC 45 Turbo.”

Artemis Racing AC 45 Turbo

Oracle Team USA AC 45 Turbo

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