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America’s Cup: Exploring the early AC75s

Published on February 26th, 2020

Naval architect Scott Ferguson examines the first-generation AC75 designs for Sailing World Magazine:

The launching of a new boat is always a special moment, especially for an America’s Cup team, because it’s a defining and major milestone in the campaign. Until the sequential revelations from Emirates Team New Zealand, American Magic, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team and finally Ineos Team UK, development and design had happened behind tightly closed doors or through small-boat testing; we are now in a period of reckoning for the four challengers on a number of fronts.

Internally for each team, the next phase is about validating design tools and debugging many of the new detailed design features found everywhere on the boat. Externally, it’s checking in with the solutions of the other teams and understanding why they chose certain directions. Moving forward from the launches of these first-generation AC75s, design teams will adjust and simulate the different directions, if they haven’t already; but only when the sailing teams actually line up in Cagliari, Italy, at the end of April will we know who is on the best track.

To make an early assessment, we must first consider the overall package, starting with the hull and deck. Considerations of whether the America’s Cup races in Auckland in 2021 will be sailed in foiling conditions or how often or in what windspeed will a team drop off the foils when tacking is important. There is likely much discussion about the minimum true-windspeed in which these boats will race. One thing is for sure, the racing will be pretty boring to watch if these AC75s are not foiling. Full report.

36th America’s Cup
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)
• 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 allegedly made 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. However, it is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee, nor is there any knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team training.

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 (NOT KNOWN)
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia
June 4-7, 2020 – Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England
December 17-20 – Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
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


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