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What it’s really like to sail an AC75?

Published on August 16th, 2020

What is it really like to sail an AC75 every day? INEOS Team UK grinder David Carr reveals for Yachting World what life is like in Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup crew:

“When you push off the dock, your life is in the hands of computers – and the guy piloting the boat out of the water, of course. All the systems on the boat, other than the winches rattling around, rely on computers.

“You’re very aware that you are now sailing a boat that wholly relies on computer code. But I guess when you’re sitting in an airplane at 40,000 feet, it’s exactly the same.”

This is life onboard an AC75, the flying yachts which will be used to challenge for the 2021 America’s Cup. David Carr, or ‘Freddie’ as everyone calls him, is one of Britain’s most experienced America’s Cup sailors and grinder on INEOS Team UK.

This is his fifth Cup campaign, having been part of GBR Challenge in the IACC yachts back in 2003. He shifted from big boats to cats for the Extreme Sailing Series, then moved onto the foiling catamarans of the 2013 and 2017 Cup cycles. He talks to Helen Fretter about life as part of the AC75 crew for Ben Ainslie’s British challenge:

A surreal mix
Can anything really prepare you for flying a 75ft monohull? No, not in the slightest. I feel that I come from a privileged position, having sailed the old IACC classes, and I’ve gone through this change in the Cup over the last ten years moving into foiling cats.

Now, with these AC75s, we’ve got a complete mixture of the two. We’ve got a yacht that foils, so it’s taken the two generations of the America’s Cup world that I’ve lived in and shoved them together. 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• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

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 (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

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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