Marketing America’s Cup tech to the beyond

Published on November 2nd, 2023

There was a time when teams competing for the America’s Cup would partner with marine industry experts, develop new equipment and technology, and these discoveries would trickle down through chandlerys to the sport.

But today, these advancements tend to be far beyond the realm of recreational sailing, and as teams take on this development role themselves, they now seek rewards by marketing their proprietary knowledge.

The Oracle-funded USA team founded Core Builders Composites in 2001 to build their gear, and recently sold the New Zealand facility to Rocket Lab USA, Inc, a global leader in launch and space systems.

After Artemis Racing was eliminated as a Challenger for the 2017 America’s Cup, the Swiss group founded Artemis Technologies which is now a world leader in high-performance maritime design and technology.

And now current defender Team New Zealand has launched a company called Design Works which will focus on bringing America’s Cup technology to high-tech commercial projects.

Since defending the America’s Cup in 2021, the Kiwi team has delivered projects including hydrogen-powered foiling chase boats, the AC40 class yachts, a world-leading autopilot system, the autonomous racing mark drones recently deployed to the Vilanova preliminary regatta, and a world record beating land yacht.

Design Works comprises 35-40 designers and engineers across disciplines encompassing naval architecture, composite engineering, mechanical design, fluid dynamics, simulation development, optimization, mechatronics, software engineering, machine learning and AI.

“AC design work is very cyclical,” notes Chief Technical Officer Dan Bernasconi. “We have huge peaks in workload as we design and optimize our racing yachts, but the day after the Cup is raced, win or lose, we have an opportunity to take on some big projects before the next cycle begins.

“Keeping the team working together outside of our normal America’s Cup realm helps us to grow and strengthen the team, and broadening our perspectives on design problems is very beneficial at ‘downtimes’ of AC cycles.”

Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand adds, “The technology that our design team produces is mind-blowing! We have a room full of PhD’s and rocket scientists, but they’re also extremely practical.

“Until October 2024 we’re 100% focused on defending the America’s Cup, but we have an amazing opportunity after that to use our in-house talent on other projects and grow our team for the 38th America’s Cup.”

Editor’s note: We question the name Design Works, as there is already a company with that name in New Zealand with the appropriate web address

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup begins October 12, 2024.

Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
INEOS Britannia (GBR)
Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
NYYC American Magic (USA)
Orient Express Racing Team (FRA)

2023-24 Preliminary Regattas
September 14-17, 2023 (AC40): Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain
November 30-December 3 (AC40): Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
August 2024 (AC75): Barcelona, Spain

2024 America’s Cup
August 29-October 7: Challenger Selection Series
October 12 – ?: 37th Match (Best of 13)

Additionally, 12 teams will compete in the 2024 Youth & Women’s America’s Cup.

Additional details:

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