America’s Cup: New boats to fly faster

America’s Cup: New boats to fly faster
Emirates Team New Zealand via CNN
America's Cup AC75 monohull boat concept

It might look like a dancing pondskater but the revolutionary monohull which flies on foils is the future of the America’s Cup.

Defender Emirates Team New Zealand dispensed with the twin-hulled foiling catamarans from Bermuda and has unveiled a cutting-edge design which will contest the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.

The 75-foot boats could even be faster than the 50 knots (57mph) of the Bermuda rocket ships and will rise out of the water on two large canting foils with an additional foil on the rudder. The rigid wing sails of the 35th edition will be replaced by more “traditional” soft sails.


“Our analysis of the performance of the foiling monohulls tells us that once the boat is up and foiling, the boat has the potential to be faster than an AC50 both upwind and downwind,” said Grant Dalton, chief executive of Emirates Team New Zealand.

“Auckland is in for a highly competitive summer of racing in 2020/2021.”

Team New Zealand trounced Oracle Team USA with revolutionary foil technology and innovative cycle-powered winches in June but, despite being so far ahead of the teams, they chose to take the next Cup in a different direction after two events under Larry Ellison’s Oracle team.

The Kiwis and Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, the Challenger of Record, were keen to make the technology more “affordable,” to promote closer racing, to expand the number of sailors involved, to make the sport more about more “traditional” sailing skills, and to develop more “sustainable” technology that better filters down into other areas of the sport.

‘Challenging’ and ‘competitive’

When they first announced a return to monohulls, fans of the high-speed catamarans in Bermuda claimed it was a backward step, that it would turn off the new audience drawn in by the spectacle of these flying boats, and reduce the interest of potential new teams.

Unfazed, the Kiwis and Italians evaluated a wide range of designs as they sought a high-performance boat that will produce close match racing, will be “challenging and demanding to sail” and will reward the “top level of skill for the crews.”

Safety was also key, and as a result the AC75 will also be able to right itself in the event of a capsize.

“The choice of a monohull was a fundamental condition for us to be involved again in the America’s Cup,” said Patrizio Bertelli, chairman of Luna Rossa.

“This is not a return to the past, but rather a step toward the future.”

‘Incredible challenge’

Bertelli added: “The concept of the new AC 75 Class … will open new horizons for racing yachts, which, in the future, may also extend to cruising. It is a modern concept, at the high end of technology and challenging from a sporting point of view, which will deliver competitive and exciting match racing.”

Britain’s Ben Ainslie has already committed his Land Rover BAR team to the next Cup and welcomed the new design.

“[They] have delivered a truly high-performance boat that will make the next America’s Cup an incredible sporting and technical challenge,” he said in a statement.

“What we do know is that we’re going to be foiling again, and that in the right conditions, this boat will be as quick as or quicker than the ACC foiling catamarans raced in the last Cup.

“The sport has gained a lot of new fans and this boat, delivered with a global circuit and high-quality free-to-air broadcast TV will cement their interest in the America’s Cup and build on a very strong base.”