AC75 Class Concept Revealled
Tuesday 21 November 2017
Emirates Team New Zealand have announced their concept for the yacht that will be raced in the 36th America's Cup and in true America's Cup style it looks like it is going to produce another heart in mouth fleet of hyper racers.
It was known that the class would return to more traditional monohulls after several events in ever more powerful multihulls but what I was not expecting were asymmetrical foiling boats.
The boats get furling code zeroes for the lighter winds (a step towards getting spinnies in future iterations I hope) but what is sure to catch people's attention are the foils.
The yachts will feature twin canting T foils. These can be stowed beneath the yacht for stability and berthing. In this mode I am reminded of a whale's flippers.
Out on the water in full on race mode both foils are rotated up with the windward foil being the higher to provide righting moment whilst the lower leeward foil is just below the surface to provide the exciting lift that we have come to expect. In this mode I am reminded of a gecko.
Perhaps most importantly there is an intermediate stability mode for rounding and strong winds (or what counts for strong winds in the AC anyway). Given some of the hairy scenes in the last cup where the design made it all or nothing with only a choice of slightly longer foils this option should make for more controlled and therefore safer racing.
I predict that the teams will be reluctant to keep more foil in the water than absolutely necessary though. With gangly foils out on either side of the boats I can forsee some big tangles on the buoys and other boat if they don't give enough room at the marks. I hope that none of the windward foils hit crew aboard the opposition yacht because that will cause some serious damage. I had enough worries about collisions watching the last cup so I hope this danger is mitigated.
Here's hoping that the engineers can make this concept a reality because pushing the boundaries of yachting is good for everyone.