Fact, Fiction, and Rumors

Published on July 31st, 2018

We don’t spend much energy sharing rumors as too often they fail to materialize and prove disruptive to what is good and actually occurring in our sport. But one rumor continues to circulate which involves the future of the 15-meter catamarans used for the 2017 America’s Cup.

Given how there were so many one design components in the boat, principally the hulls and beams, the talk churns on about using them again. But talk is cheap, and these boats aren’t. The teams that used them have moved on, and the cost to turn them into something else, and maintain them, requires the kind of funny money that only billionaires have.

Billionaires such as Larry Ellison.

Ellison’s ally Russell Coutts wasn’t willing to divulge much. “We’re aware of the rumors and can understand how a new series in enhanced foiling catamarans could be interesting news. However, until something is officially announced I cannot offer any further comment.”

Yet we hear how C-Tech, a premium composites manufacturer in New Zealand, is building multiple sets of identical foils which are understood to be for the boats used in Bermuda.

Jack Griffin, publisher of CupExperience and a regular contributor to Seahorse magazine, reports how the rumors continue to get more specific about a new professional circuit using these boats. Here’s his take:

It’s hard to tell fact from fiction, but here are some of the ideas that are circulating:

• The boats are being converted to one design – foils, rudders, foil control systems, wing control systems will be identical.
• The wing control system from Team France’s boat will be used.
• Electric pumps will power the hydraulic system.
• The boats will have a crew of five.
• The conversion work is being doing at Core Builders in Warkworth, New Zealand. (Core is owned by Larry Ellison.)
• There will be at least five teams.
• The first regatta will be in February in Sydney. San Francisco and Bermuda have been mentioned as possible additional venues.
• The class will be called F50.

There were six AC50’s built for the 2017 America’s Cup. Presumably the five boats being converted are from Oracle, Team Japan, Artemis, Team France and Land Rover BAR.

It will be interesting to see which, if any, of these rumors come true!

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