America’s Cup: British launch Britannia
Published on October 4th, 2019
Portsmouth, UK (October 4, 2019) – America’s Cup challenger INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) has officially christened their first AC75 boat from their headquarters, naming her ‘Britannia’ in homage to one of Britain’s most famous racing yachts.
The day marks a landmark moment, coming after eighteen months of the design, build, and development of one of the most complex America’s Cup class boats in the 168-year history of the event.
“The quest to win the 36th America’s Cup has required a fresh approach, a new strategy and serious support from INEOS to focus entirely on the mission in hand,” said Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie. “I’m hugely proud of the team’s commitment to design and build our first race-boat, it’s taken a serious amount of hard work and now we can’t wait to get Britannia out sailing on the Solent.”
From the moment the AC75 Class Rule was published on March 29, 2018 by the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, the team has put over 90,000 design and 50,000 construction hours to get Britannia in the water.
INEOS TEAM UK Chief Designer, Nick Holroyd, noted the complexity of the challenge. “This AC75 is the first foiling monohull of this size, it’s unlike anything ever seen on the water before, it’s hugely ambitious and it sets out an entirely new type of boat and with only eighteen months to design and build there comes challenges, but that’s what makes the Cup so exciting.”
The name ‘Britannia’ was chosen by INEOS TEAM UK founder and owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe in homage to the racing cutter yacht ‘Britannia’ whose name in turn was taken from James Thomson’s famous poem ‘Rule Britannia!’ written in 1740. The original Britannia was built in 1893 for King Edward VII, the then Prince of Wales.
King George V took ownership of Britannia in her final years converting her into a J Class racing yacht, the majestic class that was sailed in three editions of the America’s Cup from 1930-1937. She eventually finished with a lifetime record of 231 race wins and 129 further podiums making her the dominant yacht of the time.
King George V had decreed that his yacht should not outlive him. After his death in 1936, Britannia was stripped of her spars and fittings, and towed out to St Catherine’s Deep off the Isle of Wight where she was scuttled by the Royal Navy; in the same waters that the first America’s Cup was raced in back in 1851.
Notably, the mast and fittings of the yacht were saved from the scuttling with the wheel subsequently fitted to the wheelhouse of the Royal Yacht Britannia steering her for the next 44 years.
INEOS TEAM UK will commence with a period of testing on Solent waters in Portsmouth, before heading to Sardinia for winter testing ahead of the first America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari on April 23-26, 2020.
AC75 Britannia in numbers:
• Construction hours: 50,000 +
• Design hours: 90,000 +
• CNC Machine hours: 45,000+
• Individual parts: 25,000
• Estimated top speed: 50knots / 57.5 mph / 92.6km/h
• Length: 22.76m with bowsprit (20.7m without)
• Max Beam: 5m beam
• Weight: 6,450 tonnes
• Hull and rig construction: Carbon fibre
• Rig: Double-skinned soft-wingsail
• Crew: 11
• Crew weight: Max 990kg
Source: INEOS TEAM UK
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:
• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• INEOS Team UK (GBR)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAW
• Stars & Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAW
Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, but they still must complete the entry fee payment process before they will be eligible to race. They have already paid their initial payment but as a late entry challenger under the Protocol they also have a liability to pay a US$1million late entry fee due in installments by October 1, 2019. This deadline coincides with the venue schedule which has the construction of their team base beginning in late 2019, which we assume was done in the event the team is unable to fulfill their payment deadline. It is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee.
Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
April 23-26, 2020: First America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia.
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match
AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1