Ninety Percent Replica of the AC Class
Published on July 12th, 2016
America’s Cup Challenger Groupama Team France unveiled its Test AC Class (13.45m) in Lorient (Britany) on July 11, which was christened by the four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost. While this is not the boat that will defend France’s colours in a year’s time, it is a virtual carbon copy and will be a genuine ‘laboratory’ boat for the team.
Indeed, this foiling prototype will be used for training on Breton waters from July to late December 2016, so as to allow Groupama Team France to validate the technical choices made since October 2015.
Equally and above all, it will enable the team to continue making developments and decisions regarding the construction of future parts and systems, which will translate across to the AC Class. The latter, which will compete in Bermuda in 2017, will simply have hulls that are 1.5-metre longer.
The America’s Cup protocol prohibits the AC Class (15 metres) from sailing prior to December 26, 2016 (150 days prior to competition). In order to train and validate their developments, the six competing teams – one Defender and five Challengers – have built prototypes, which are a 90% replica of the AC Class on which they’ll race during the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda.
Groupama Team France has also brought into play this so called Test AC Class catamaran (formerly called an AC45 Turbo). Aside from shorter hulls, everything is exactly alike. The shape of the hull below the waterline, the beam and the sail area, the cockpits and also the Pod on which the wing sits are one-designs, hence identical to its big AC Class big brother.
Jack Griffin, who was present for the christening, observed how the French have worked around the 150 day rule.
“Except for the hulls, this IS the Team France race boat for 2017,” noted Griffin, who publishes CupExperience.com. “The wing, crossbeams, pod, fairings, rudders, daggerboards and control systems will all be fitted to class compliant hulls later this year. The aft fairing is a bit long for the test boat but will fit just fine when the hulls are replaced with AC Class compliant hulls in December. With the smallest budget of six teams, Team France depends on outside-the-box thinking to be competitive.”
11 Juillet 2016, Baptême du Catamaran Groupama Team France en présence de Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux, Olivier de…
LOA: 13.45 metres
Beam: 8.47 metres
Displacement: 2.45 tonnes
Water draught: 2.40 metres
Wing height: 23.60 metres
Wing surface: 101 square metres
Upwind sail area: 137 square metres
Peak speed: 40 to 50 knots