Steps toward a cleaner America’s Cup

Published on March 31st, 2022

It’s hard to embrace the America’s Cup as a platform to promote and encourage environmental consciousness when each AC75 race boat has a fleet of gas-powered RIBS following in its wake.

It was a surprise to no one that during the measurement of the carbon emissions of Emirates Team New Zealand’s last campaign to become carbonzero certified, the chase boats were a sizable contributor to the overall emissions.

And so, the fixation on Hydrogen powered foiling chase boats was born, and just over nine months since putting pen to paper, the America’s Cup defender launched on March 31 their prototype hydrogen-powered foiling chase boat in Auckland which they expect to cruise at 35 knots with a top speed over 50 knots.

“We certainly weren’t expecting to be working so intently straight after AC36,” said project Manager Geoff Senior. “We were basically told something this audacious would take 3.5- 4 years.

“It was a big effort to get the boat built at our build facility and then it’s been a massive effort from the fit-out team here at the base, just getting all these powertrain components in and all the respective bits of hardware.

“I don’t think we realize how significant it is. I think there’s almost no other boats like this around. The next boats like this are still a long way away, so I think once it’s in the water and running, we will realize just how important it is on the world stage.”

Referred to as Chase Zero, the boat will now go through an extensive commissioning and testing phase in the dock over the next week or so, testing and running the prototype systems before being set free on the Waitematā harbour.

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